Grab has just extended its lead over rival Uber in the ride-hailing service segment in South-East Asian market thanks to a fresh round of funding to the tune of $2.5 billion.
The Singapore based startup said they raised $2 billion from Didi Chuxing and Japan’s Softbank while another $500 million worth of investment came from existing and new shareholders. This also makes for the biggest investment that any South-East Asia based start-up has ever received so far.
Interestingly, Japan’s Softbank also has a sizeable stake in Didi Chuxing which happens to be the biggest ride-hailing service operating in China. Uber had earlier scaled back its operations in China but its prospects in the rapidly developing South-East Asian segment has just become a lot more challenging.
Grab has also been expanding rapidly since its inception back in 2012. It now has operations in at least 55 cities in the region that cover countries like Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam and so on. The firm already enjoys a commanding 95 percent share of the ‘third-party taxi hailing’ segment in the region along with a 71 percent share of the private vehicle hailing business.
With the latest round of funding, Grab’s valuation now stands at $6 billion. Also, with the towering presence, it already has in the region – clocking around 3 million rides a day – Grab no doubt is better poised to make the most of the segment that a Google-Temasek joint study has predicted will grow to $13.1 billion by 2025 in revenue terms.
Grab has also earlier been involved with nuTonomy, a Boston based car start-up involved in developing autonomous car technology. The firm has been using some of Grab’s existing infrastructure, which includes both taxis as well as its digital interface to test its own self-driving car tech in Singapore.
All of that is in line with nuTonomy’s ambitious plans to start commercial self-driving taxi services within 2018, something that Grab too will be eager to make good use of in its own operations.
Meanwhile, Uber too has been actively involved with its own self-driving initiatives. However, while those seems to be some way off as of now, what is amply clear is that its South-East Asian plans might just have been dealt a big blow.