The food delivery business of ride-hailing firm Grab, Southeast Asia’s most valuable tech unicorn, is expanding its network of so-called GrabKitchens into Thailand and Vietnam. The first GrabKitchens outside Indonesia will be launched in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, which will be followed by new openings in the Philippines, Singapore and other markets in the region, according to a GrabFood statement on Tuesday. GrabKitchens are set up similar to food courts, except that vendors prepare their dishes only for pickup and delivery. “We see GrabKitchen as a new solution that empowers our merchants to expand and grow, and for consumers to enjoy greater access to a wide variety of food,” said GrabFood head Lim Kell Jay in the statement. “Taking learning from our success in Indonesia, GrabFood is looking to scale the GrabKitchen network rapidly across the region in the coming months.” The expansion initiative will see more than 50 GrabKitchens in operation across five markets in Southeast Asia by the end of this year, according to GrabFood. GrabKitchen, which was established to provide orders for the eateries through Grab’s super app platform, represents the Singapore-based company’s strategy to nurture an ecosystem of start-ups across the region. Building a well-rounded ecosystem of services allows companies like Grab to obtain troves of valuable user data that can be used for targeted advertising or understanding customers’ needs, to offer better services. Providing a variety of services that are part of everyday life also makes the platform more sticky, ensuring that users remain active while also serving as a higher barrier of entry for potential competitors. Food delivery service has become a vital business for ride-hailing companies in Southeast Asia. Queries for online food delivery brands on Google have grown more than 13 times in Indonesia, nine times in the Philippines and eight times in Thailand over the past four years, according to the e-Conomy SEA 2019 report. Southeast Asian ride hailing giant Grab to invest US$2 billion in Indonesia using SoftBank funds GrabFood, which operates in 221 cities across six countries, grew its gross merchandise volume 900 per cent in the 12 months to June, with delivery volume growing seven times during the same period across six markets, according to the company. It estimated that the GrabKitchen network showed a 25 per cent increased in gross merchandise volume since the first such facility was launched in April this year. For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters , subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast , and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report . Also roam China Tech City , an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus .