Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab has confirmed an investment of $2bn (£1.5bn) from fellow ride hailing company Didi Chuxing and Japan’s internet powerhouse SoftBank, as was first reported last week.
The investment marks the largest single financing in the history of Southeast Asia, makes Grab the most valuable startup in Southeast Asia, and yet Grab still expects to add an additional $500m in the round.
“We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with Didi and SoftBank,” said Anthony Tan, CEO and co-founder of Grab. “We’re encouraged that these two visionary companies share our optimism for the future of Southeast Asia and its on-demand transportation and payments markets, and recognise that Grab is ideally positioned to capitalise on the massive market opportunities.”
Grab boasts a 95 per cent market share of third-party taxi hailing and a 71 per cent market share of private vehicle hailing in Southeast Asia. The investment aims to strengthen this already dominant position, and support the expansion of GrabPay.
The huge investment will come as a blow to Uber, which has struggled to successfully expand in the region. Its failed China project was sold to Didi to $1bn, just to add salt to the wound. Uber could see some benefits due to its 17.7 per cent stake in Didi, though unlikely that it will want to take any unnecessary risks until it gets its house in order.