AFP- Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab said on Wednesday it has secured $1.5 billion in fresh financing from a fund run by Japan's SoftBank and will use a significant portion of it to expand in Indonesia.
Grab has seen its business grow rapidly since it bought US-based rival Uber's regional ride-hailing and food business in March last year. Uber received a 27.5 percent stake in Grab in return.
The fresh investment from the Vision Fund of Softbank Group brings the total financing secured by Singapore-headquartered Grab over the past year to more than $4.5 billion.
The company said it is expanding its financial services and food and parcel delivery businesses, as well as adding new offerings such as on-demand video, digital healthcare, insurance and hotel bookings.
Grab said a "significant portion" of the new investment will be used to grow its business in Indonesia, the home base of regional rival Go-Jek, which has recently launched in Singapore.
"Grab's Indonesian business is expanding rapidly, with revenue more than doubling in 2018," the company said in a statement.
Toyota Motor, Hyundai Motor, Oppenheimer Funds and Microsoft Corp are among the major investors in Grab over the past year. Softbank is owned by Japan's richest man Masayoshi Son.
Go-Jek has won financial backing from investors including Google, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek and Chinese internet giant Tencent.
Southeast Asia's ride-hailing market is expected to be worth $20 billion by 2025, according to research by Google and Temasek. (Colombo/Mar06/2019)