(Bloomberg) -- After ditching the AirAsia Superapp name and rebranding as Move in September, Capital A Bhd’s digital arm wants to become an established and widely recognized online travel agency in Southeast Asia.
Move already has 15.4 million active monthly users in the region and a share of about 10% of its estimated $30 billion travel market, Chief Executive Officer Nadia Omer said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The company, based in Kuala Lumpur, sells flights, hotels, travel insurance, fintech products and offers ride-hailing services specializing in airport journeys.
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“The real inflection point in e-commerce, which I see happening in the next two to three years, is in travel,” Nadia said in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the same day Capital A reported Move posted revenue of 171.4 million ringgit ($37 million) for the third quarter, up 68% year-on-year.
Edited excerpts from the interview with Omer, who became CEO in October:
Omer: I’m originally from Pakistan and I come from a very traditional background. My ambition in life was to get married, have kids and have a settled family life. I got married during my studies and had my first child before my first job. But I felt I had no identity of my own, and my family encouraged me to explore a career. My first job was at Procter & Gamble, where as a young mother, I moved into baby-care products.
Later, Nestle hired me and I helped build their juices portfolio, and then I became head of Nescafe and breakfast cereals in Pakistan. My husband later moved to Thailand, and I found a regional role with PepsiCo.
Then I realized that FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) had reached a mature stage and wasn’t growing 15-20% annually any more. I started applying for e-commerce companies, and joined CARS24 before the amazing opportunity with Move came up.
The Move branding, is it deliberate to set you apart from AirAsia?
It is. This is a separate entity. To be an online travel agency you need to fulfill the different needs of customers — not all of those can be met by AirAsia. People are traveling to other countries and they have to take other carriers. We connect them in ways so they can find those options. I want to make sure they find the right hotels with us.
You have premium travelers, mainstream travelers and affordable travelers. We are somewhere between mainstream and affordable. I want to serve the needs of these people better than anybody else.
How many components does Move have?
We have different verticals. First is flights — we have other airlines as well. We will introduce and scale up travel insurance, like, for the price of a cup of coffee. We are also developing buy now, pay later programs with our partners.
What are your goals for 2024?
The first home run we need to score is that when we ask people what Move does, they don’t say it’s just for flights. It is for flights plus hotels. The government has announced visa-free entry for China, India, Turkey and Jordan. We have China and India - two big diasporas that both love coming into this region. Next year we will start focusing on building the app business there.
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Do you have any ambitions for the company to list?
Ultimately the goal is to go public, once we have built the business. For now, if you are preparing a young player, it is better that they are a little off the radar to be able to practice, try new things, make a few mistakes, course correct, before they show up at the big match.
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