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Ride-Share Giant Grab Lands $500M from SoftBank as Growth Soars

October 7, 2018

Singapore-based Grab, a taxi aggregator and major provider of ride-sharing services similar to Uber in Southeast Asia, is expected soon to close on a deal with Japan’s SoftBank for another $500 million in capital.

A Grab Taxi in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo: Jon Russell, CC

The new funds are part of an overall investment arrangement Grab is negotiating with the Japanese investment group SoftBank for up to $1 billion total.

Softbank was one of the earlier investors in six-year-old Grab, having invested $250 million in the Singaporean company in 2014, when it was still only two years old.

This comes on top of Grab’s having received multiple major funding bumps in recent months. Those include Toyota Motor Corporation, which is exploring its own ride-sharing services, for $1 billion into Grab back in July. Another recent investment was from Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing.

This also comes after Grab acquiring Uber Asia just a few months ago. That involved an unusual arrangement where by Uber giving up its Asian business it also acquired a 27.5% stake in Grab. Uber’s long-term objectives with Grab are not clear, but Uber could be positioning for investments in Asia again after an expected IPO goes forward as early as 2019.

The new funding, plus others Grab is still seeking, is expected to help Grab as its moves more deeply into Indonesia. There it faces what could be a tough fight for market share against Indonesia’s own Go-Jek. Go-Jek is also reportedly targeted some of the same markets Grab also currently controls in other parts of Southeast Asia.

Grab currently runs its taxi-hailing and ride-sharing services in over 230 cities in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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