Careem launches Super App

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Careem, the Dubai-headquartered ride-hailing company, launched its super app in a webinar on Monday.

The app, in addition to offering rides, will have a host of services across three areas: mobility of people, things and money. It will be rolled out entirely by the end of June and the exact services depend on the local market but range from deliveries to bike sharing.

According to a press release, the company has spent $50 million in developing the Super App which will merge all services offered, such as Careem NOW or Careem PAY, into a single application.

The super app concept is quite popular in China and Southeast Asia, including the likes of Wechat, Gojek and Grab, with many tech companies moving towards this model to boost their bottom lines.

“The move from offline to online commerce is a secular and significant opportunity, one that has accelerated as a result of the global pandemic. Careem’s Super App supports this acceleration by bringing together people’s essential, everyday services in one place, with a single sign-on and integrated payment system,” said the company’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mudassir Sheikha.

After the pandemic struck, the company laid off 31 per cent of its employees (536 people) as its services were completely shut due to lockdowns.

Since then, Careem’s major markets (volume-wise) like Pakistan and Egypt, already struggling economically, have seen their growth projections worsen while depressed oil prices and tourism in rich Gulf states, making for a gloomy business outlook.

However, Sheikha is optimistic. Speaking to Dawn, he said: “We can look at the challenges and be a bit hopeless but I look at the bright side of this crisis. As things are going to become difficult, it will force change to happen and enable faster digital adoption which can pull us out of the crisis and in the long run, even help us achieve leapfrogging.”

To survive in the short- to medium-run, he says they have already implemented cost-cutting measures that will help them stay afloat and recover when the situation normalises, conservatively by May 2021