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A Korean Ride-sharing Company Prospering in Singapore
MVL Takes Second Place after Uber in Singapore
A Korean Ride-sharing Company Prospering in Singapore
  • By Michael Herh
  • August 21, 2018, 14:58
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The user interface of ride-hailing app TADA.

Mass Vehicle Leger (MVL), a Korean company that provides ride-hailing service TADA in Singapore, has gathered 50,000 users and 12,000 drivers one year after the service launch in July 2017, chasing right behind the top service provider, Uber.

MVL's TADA, which means "let's ride" in Korean, has almost the same system as Uber. It is a service that allows ordinary people who own a car to join as a member and give a ride to passengers for fares like taxis. The difference with Uber is that TADA is based on a public blockchain. As a result, Uber receives a commission from driver members, but TADA does not. It rather provides MVL coins for driver members.

For drivers, TADA is more advantageous than Uber as they do not have to pay a commission and get coins. MVL coins can be cashed at cryptocurrency trading sites. TADA’s approach was quickly known widely in Singapore and started threatening Uber. With the emergence of TADA, Uber lost more than 10,000 driver members in a month.

With the rapid growth of TADA members, the value of MVL coins has also increased. MVL coins, which were traded at 2 won per unit until last month, has doubled to 4 won, increasing MVL's corporate value by more than two times. In the future, MVL will expand its service to neighboring fields such as car repair and car rental, in addition to car sharing. It plans to enter Vietnam within this year.

In fact, MVL has been preparing for vehicle-related O2O service in Korea for several years with the name Easy Six. In particular, Kakao invested 700 million won (US$583,000). However, as coin payment has been increasingly seen negatively in Korea, Kakao requested withdrawal of coin payment. MVL did not accept it, so Kakao retrieved its investment in July this year.

In addition, it is illegal for ordinary citizens who are not taxi drivers to get fares from passengers for a ride, so MVL eventually left Korea and turned to Singapore. After moving to Singapore, MVL grew rapidly and started threatening Uber, the number one local vehicle sharing service. Kakao, which invested in MVL and retrieved its investment in seven months, lost a big opportunity.

If Kakao had not withdrawn its investment from MVL, MVL would have been Kakao’s bridgehead for Southeast Asia. Although Kakao acquired Pass Mobile to secure a bridgehead for Southeast Asia, the company has been unprofitable for several years, and withdrew from Singapore in July. It seems that Kakao would regret withdrawing from MVL.

An analyst said, "Unlike Korea, Singapore is an open country for ICOs and car sharing services, and that is why MVL has been successful. It is a pity that a competent Korean startup had to go abroad due to Korean regulations, makes money abroad, and creates employment overseas.”