FastGo: Quick steps on home ground, solid steps in foreign turf

March 01, 2019 | 08:55
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Only six months after launching, FastGo – a truly Vietnamese ride-hailing app – has made its presence felt in 10 provinces and municipalities nationwide, ranking second in user volume in the market with more than 40,000 driver partners. This is also the first Vietnamese firm in its field to break into a foreign market. What isFastGo’srecipe for success?  
fastgo quick steps on home ground solid steps in foreign turf
Nguyen Huu Tuat, founder and CEO of FastGo Vietnam

Trailblazing in foreign markets

To this day, Nguyen Huu Tuat, founder and CEO of FastGo Vietnam, is still gripped by an unshakeable sense of pride when recalling the app’s roll-out event in Myanmar in late December 2018. This was a significant leap for the truly Vietnamese ride-hailing app which only came into being in mid-June 2018, making it the very first local firm in the field to drop anchor in a foreign market.

FastGo was launched in the middle of last year by FastGo Vietnam, which belongs to privately-held NextTechGroup, after three years of software development and incubation.

Its launch was hailed by market observers as a smart move in the right time to make use of good market conditions after Uber withdrew (March 2018) and drivers and customers were looking for more options.

“The Vietnamese ride-hailing market is very up-and-coming and might reach billions of US dollars and promises robust development. That explains why FastGo joined the market.”

“I believe that with a clear development path, a preeminent tech platform, and support from authorised agencies and local consumers, FastGo will be developing sustainably, bringing multiple job opportunities and benefits to local consumers, as well as contributing to Vietnam’s socioeconomic wellbeing,” said CEO Tuat.

Aligning with his expectations, only six months after the launch, the fledgling app was present in 10 locations across Vietnam and had more than 40,000 driver partners.

Aligning with his expectations, only six months after the launch, the fledgling app was present in 10 locations across Vietnam and had more than 40,000 driver partners.

In last December, it was the first local ride-hailing app to take the bold step to venture into a foreign market. In its first outbound excursion, FastGoset up a joint venture with Asia Sun Group to launch the service in Myanmar.

Tuat said that they had chosen Myanmar as their first foreign market because it holds great potential with a vigorous pace of development in e-commerce, tourism, and retail.

With a 60 million-plus population, travel demand in Myanmar is expected to register high growth and FastGo believes it can play a role in spurring the digital transformation process and digital economic development in the country.

Tuat said 2019 will be a year of accelerated development for FastGo as the app will be present across Vietnam as well as five foreign countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, besides Myanmar.

Simultaneously, the company will deploy new services within its evolving ecosystem.

Bringing added values to Vietnamese customers

After Uber’s withdrawal, the local ride-hailing market has become increasingly competitive with the strong presence of foreign rivals like Grab and Go-Jek and a slew of local apps such as Mai Linh Bike, T.Net, Be, Vihago, 123Xe, and more. The ongoing lawsuit between Grab and local firm Vinasunhas made the market increasingly intricate.

Materialising its development goals in this context may prove difficult for FastGo. CEO Nguyen Huu Tuat, however, is very optimistic: “Other companies might have similar ideas and targets, but success lies not in ideas, but in the way these ideas are realised and the leadership’s vision.”

FastGo’s actual development has partly verified this viewpoint. As of now, FastGooffers very competitive prices, even one-third below others’ fares during peak hours. Significantly, this is a unique ride-hailing app in Vietnam as it integrates Fast Protection insurance package with the indemnity value reaching VND200 million ($8,700) for every ride.

FastGo currently offers three key services: Fast Car for private drivers in need of higher income; Fast Taxi, connecting customers with taxi operators providing ride-hailing solutions via the FastGo app; and Fast Luxury, offering transport in luxury vehicles.

Also, unlike Uber and Grab, FastGo does not confront traditional taxis but rather works to support them by integrating technology to help bring customers more value.

“FastGo is confident in its success as besides market conditions, we have received huge spiritual support from customers, businesses, and the media for bringing value to Vietnamese people and for striving to realise the Vietnamese people’s will to return the market to local hands,” said Tuat.

Developing an evolving, open ecosystem

In Tuat’s words, when the relevant regulatory system is in place, FastGo will develop strongly and evolve into an open ecosystem focusing on the five key fields of travel, food and beverage, transport, healthcare, and finance, besides the development of the ride-hailing function.

“We aim to become a super app with bold steps based on the NextTech services ecosystem. Our strategy is to handle customers’ every issue,swiftly and on a wide scale,” said Tuat.

FastGo’s open ecosystem allows third-party service providers to embed their services and provide their products/services to the user community right on the FastGo platform. Customers can easily access service providers through the app and be served right away.

Unlike Grab or GoViet, the expansion of FastGo’s services ecosystem does not target food delivery first, but focuses on healthcare instead. The app is integrating diverse healthcare services into its ecosystem such as home visits by doctors and hotel-tourism services. In the future, FastGo will likely act as an O2O mobile marketplace.

According to FastGo leaders, this will be a common development trend in the upcoming years when all services will be interconnected within an ecosystem, helping to drive down market development costs.

The relevant parties will focus on enhancing service quality and user experience. The platform will help usher in changes in the way of doing business, promoting a shift from traditional to digital methods.

Chatting with Nguyen HuuTuat

You are also the co-founder of Peacesoft, Vietnam’s pioneer in e-commerce and e-payment (now NextTech Group). Does this help FastGo’s development?

Yes, my 18-year experience in startup business as well as managing and developing a string of projects helps us cultivate a good team of colleagues and a good fundament that is useful to FastGo’s construction and development.

What is the lodestar in your life and doing business?

Living simply and freely, constantly creating new value to society. Since the commercial field is risk-prone and frequently faces pressure, successful businesspeople are those with a sense of patience.

Who do you style your leadership after? How have you created your leadership style?

I personally do not have any leadership model. I have looked into many successful models in the world, striving to learn their quintessence every day to gradually perfect myself.

By Phuong Anh

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