After establishing itself as a leading ride-hailing service in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, Careem is now planning to launch a Super App for the region that caters to all of the common man’s needs.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of the company, Mudassir Sheikha, has chalked out an ambitious plan to change the course of cash-based economies in this region for good.
Speaking Julia Chatterley on CNN, Sheikha revealed that the region from Morocco to Pakistan, what Careem calls the Greater Middle East North Africa, is a $1.3 trillion economy. Still, merely 2 percent of it is spent online, something Careem aims to change through the introduction of a super app.
He mentioned that 90 percent of their business was based on cash payments, something which was hurting the growth of the company.
Credit card penetration in the region is very, very low, as 90 percent of our daily transactions are on cash. As inconvenient as it is, this large cash-domination is preventing the growth of digital services.
A Middle East challenger bank?
"The opportunity, is actually much bigger," says Mudassir Sheikha @Careem CEO & founder, adding "consumer spend in this region is $1.8 trillion, only 2% of that goes online," and he thinks Careem's Super App can change that. $UBER #RideHailing pic.twitter.com/DgK0r9BEDZ
— Julia Chatterley (@jchatterleyCNN) February 24, 2020
When asked about a way forward, the CEO mentioned that he plans to introduce an app that will allow other businesses to integrate with Careem and use its userbase and digital payment services to run their own business.
The infrastructure that we have built to conduct our own business is now being packaged into something that we can offer other businesses in the form of a super app which will allow other businesses to use our system to convert cash into digital payments that can then be used for online purchasing.
The next step, he said, is to start offering financial services to 35 million Careem users stretched across the region and allow them to become financially inclusive and become a part of the growing global digital economy.
To a question, if the idea was to launch a digital bank, the Careem founder said that the opportunity was actually much bigger than that.
Sheikha said that the company will synergize all its services into one app, called the Super App, and then open up this platform for other businesses that want to offer their products and services to the customers digitally, providing them with all logistics and payment capabilities that are required to deliver the services.