Southeast Asia ride-hailing service Grab says open to more acquisitions

Southeast Asia ride-hailing service Grab says open to more acquisitions
A "Grab" taxi banner on display in Change Alley at Raffles Place in the Central Business District
PHOTO: Straits Times

Singapore-headquartered Grab is open to further acquisitions after buying an Indonesian online payments startup, one of the co-founders of the Southeast Asia-focused ride hailing service said.

Grab, which competes aggressively with US-based Uber Technologies Inc in the region, sees its future in mobile payments as much as in transport, and acquired Indonesia's Kudo last month.

The company did not say how much it paid, but Reuters had earlier reported that it had expected to pay US$100 million (S$140 million).

"We're always on the lookout, whether it's for public partners, private partners, inorganic partnership and growth or organic growth," Hoo Ling Tan, told Reuters in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

"Anything that will get us to the dominant position of the number one mobile wallet payments system in Southeast Asia."

The number of users of its GrabPay service had doubled over the past eight weeks, Tan said, without giving actual numbers. She saw the market size for payments in Southeast Asia as US$500 billion a year, compared to US$25 billion for transport.

That made it just as important for Grab as transport said Tan, who co-founded Grab with fellow Harvard Business School graduate Anthony Tan five years ago.

Grab did not immediately need to seek funds immediately for expansion, Tan said, adding that the company had raised US$1.45 billion to date. "We still have a lot of it left," she said.

Last month, Singapore's Straits Times reported that public transport operator SMRT Corp was in talks to sell Grab its taxi business, which according to its website has a fleet of more than 3,500 cars. 

Tan called the report speculation, but added that Grab was"constantly on the lookout for good partners".

Grab's app allows users to summon taxis, private cars and motorbikes.

Over the last six months, the number of daily rides on Grab had more than doubled to 2.3 million rides a day, Tan said. It has no plans for expansion beyond Southeast Asia.

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