Prestige 40 Under 40: Ngiam Xin Wei, Head of Marketplace and Shared Mobility at Grab
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Ngiam Xin Wei

35, HEAD OF MARKETPLACE AND SHARED MOBILITY AT GRAB

Ngiam Xin Wei’s philosophy when it comes to work is simple: “I believe that great businesses can make great social impact.” She joined regional transportation conglomerate Grab (then known as GrabTaxi) in 2015. Her previous jobs required her to travel extensively around South-East Asia, intimately acquainting her with the region’s transportation woes – which was how she knew that Grab founders Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling were on to something big.

Ngiam believes that shared mobility “is the only way to serve more of South‐East Asia without adding more vehicles to our roads”. This belief propelled her to pilot GrabHitch in 2015, a service on the Grab app that allows passengers to carpool with private drivers. Another service, GrabShare, matches passengers along the same route into a single vehicle for a cheaper fare. Even as her shared mobility team develops more forms of ride pooling (including shuttle buses), they’re also continuously improving the algorithms to better match passengers to private hire and taxi drivers.

Beyond just transport, Grab has grown its services to include food delivery, and bookings of movie tickets and hotels. Driving these lifestyle offerings is her Marketplace team comprising economists, data scientists and strategists, who use big data and deep ai to deliver a great experience to all its partners (drivers, delivery personnel, merchants) and customers, “even as Grab continues to grow at a breakneck pace,” she says.

What gets Ngiam out of bed every morning is knowing that Grab has become a means of economic empowerment for over nine million micro‐entrepreneurs across the region. She’s especially heartened after finding out that the platform has allowed a number of partners with disabilities to earn a living. “Stories of people being able to regain financial independence as a Grab delivery partner reminds us of our responsibility and motivates us to fight for them.”