Toyota Motor has agreed to buy a $1 billion stake in Grab in the biggest investment by a carmaker into a ride-hailing firm, at a time when traditional automakers are racing to team up with disruptive tech companies. (B1 Photo/Danung Arifin)

Grab Vies to Become Region's Primary Cashless Service

BY :TABITA DIELA

JULY 25, 2017

Jakarta. Grab, the Singapore-based online ride-hailing service, will look to make mobile payment platform GrabPay the primary cashless service for customers in Southeast Asia following its  most recent round of financing, which raised $2.5 billion from Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank and Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.

"We will continue to build upon our world-class R&D platform and bring the best global talent around the world to solve some of the biggest local challenges in [the region]," Grab said on Monday (24/07).

Grab claimed that it controls 71 percent of the overall market share of online transportation services in Southeast Asia.

"We will invest in solidifying and growing this lead," Grab said, noting that the company is always "on the lookout" for strategic investment opportunities in companies in the region.

Grab acquired Kudo earlier this year, marking its venture to payment solutions. The company also appointed Jason Thompson, a former managing director at US-based electronic payments company Euronet, to head GrabPay.

"Starting with transport, Grab is establishing a clear leadership in Southeast Asia's internet economy based on its market position, superior technology and truly local insight," Cheng Wei, DiDi founder and chief executive, said in a statement.

Didi Chuxing and SoftBank will invest a combined $2 billion to lead Grab's current financing round. Grab expects the round to expand by $500 million from other investors.

"With their support, Grab will achieve an unassailable market lead in ridesharing and build on this to make GrabPay the payment solution of choice for Southeast Asia," said Anthony Tan, Grab's co-founder and group chief executive.

Grab previously raised $750 million in a funding round led by SoftBank last September which, by then, reportedly increased Grab's total capital to over $1 billion, placing it among the best-capitalized tech startups in the region.

"Grab is using technology to address transportation and payments, some of the biggest challenges present in Southeast Asia," said Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group's chairman and chief executive.

"We believe Grab is a tremendously exciting company in a dynamic and promising region," Son said.

Grab currently offers its services in 65 cities across Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar with a total of three million daily rides.

The Jakarta Globe and Grab are both affiliated with the Lippo Group.

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