PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Group Bhd sees a spin-off on the cards with its digital offering, according to its group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
“Certainly if you look at the way we are positioning ourselves, there will be a split at some time, for sure. The stock market isn’t giving us any value for the digital products. The board and I will have to look at that,” he told the media at the launch of AirAsia superapp e-hailing service AirAsia Ride today.
He elaborated that analysts are not writing on its digital products despite the valuation of the digital business, in which BigPay was valued close to US$200 million (RM843 million), while its superapp has been valued at US$1 billion, which is higher than the group’s Thai market capitalisation.
Fernandes opined that people tend to focus on AirAsia being an airline business but it has become a multi company, data driven tech company with a strong brand.
“In time people will see that but I think we’re in the right place in the right way.”
In July, he stated that the group is exploring the possibility of listing either its Airasia Digital or Airasia superapp in the US as early as this year. Moving forward, he revealed that the group is eyeing four to five acquisitions in the future, which is centred on acquiring talent.
Meanwhile, AirAsia Ride has registered 5,000 drivers for the initial rollout and aims to expand to 30,000 drivers in the coming months.
AirAsia Ride Malaysia CEO Lim Chiew Shan elaborated that it will gradually introduce the drivers into the service based on market demand to ensure there are enough jobs for its drivers.
“We make sure our supply is in sync with demand,” he explained.
Currently, the service is available in the Klang Valley and will expand into Penang and East Malaysia across sub-urban areas in the next few weeks.
“By year-end, we expect to extend this service throughout Malaysia including in Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Johor Baru as well as other cities and small towns.
“What sets AirAsia Ride apart from others in the market would be the unique insights and data we have due to our position as a superapp that owns an airline, and have strong vertical products on e-commerce, fintech, logistics and now e-hailing,” said Lim.
He added that this would enable the group to leverage its data and algorithm to provide a seamless journey from booking flights to pre-booking their rides to the airport, as well as for their return journey all within the super app.
Following the introduction of the e-hailing service in Malaysia, the group aims to expand AirAsia Ride to Thailand followed by Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore, and across the Asean region.
“Malaysia is the first step for us to introduce this e-hailing service. We are strong in airport and tourism – flying in customers – an airport will be a dominant place for a start,” Fernandes said.