Uber-rival Grab rakes in $2.5bn in fresh investment

Grab, the ride-hailing company, has raised $2.5bn from investors including Didi Chuxing, its Chinese peer, and Japan’s SoftBank in the biggest investment in a technology start-up in Southeast Asia.

The fundraising will enhance Grab’s position as the leading ride-hailing company in the fast-growing region of more than 600m people, and cement its lead over Uber.

Existing shareholders Didi and SoftBank, which is also an investor in Didi, have put a further $2bn into Grab, while the Singapore-based company has also raised $500m from other new and existing investors, the company said in a statement on Monday.

The latest round of investment gives Grab a valuation of more than $6bn, according to a person close to the company.

It said it would use the new funds to strengthen its position in ride-hailing and invest in GrabPay, a mobile payments platform that it hopes to expand in markets with under-developed banking systems such as Indonesia.

Grab — founded in 2012 by two Malaysian Harvard Business School classmates and now based in Singapore — has emerged as a formidable obstacle to Uber’s efforts to dominate Southeast Asia, after the US company exited China last year.

Grab has expanded aggressively and as of last month was present in 55 cities compared to Uber’s 35, in a region of 10 counties that arcs from Myanmar to the Philippine archipelago.

It claims a market share of 95 per cent in “third-party taxi hailing” and 71 per cent in private ride hailing in the region, with nearly 3m daily rides. Uber has declined to disclose equivalent information.

A joint study by Google and Temasek, the Singapore state investor, published last year predicts Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing market will grow from revenues of $2.5bn in 2015 to $13.1bn by 2025.

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