492: AirAsia’s Digital Transformation: Can an airline trade at Netflix multiples?
Asia Tech Podcast Episode #492
AirAsia is an interesting case study. On the one hand, it’s an airline. On the other, it sits in the middle of a hypercompetitive cauldron of opportunity. A 5 hour flight from HQ in Malaysia gives you access to 3.5 billion people, half the world’s population.
Add to this the rising tide of Asia’s $30 trillion Middle Class. With 40 million people visiting the website every month and 100 million passengers flying, it’s possible to argue their valuations, based on data potential alone, should be seen in the same context as Netflix (135x) and Gojek (200x) rather than General Electric (16x) or General Motors (6x).
The residing challenge for any airline is the fact that 99.9% of the time, its customers aren’t in a plane, and that most people still see them as an airline.
Digital transformation takes good leadership and a compelling story; a story that reframes their value. How do you build an ecosystem around a platform when 90% of the value is created off payroll? How do you foster lean startup thinking within the walls of a corporation?
In this podcast I’ll unpack the challenges and also where I think they are heading.