Honda part­ners with Grab to help app ex­pand bike-shar­ing in South­east Asia

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By BLOOMBERG

Honda Mo­tor Co, the world’s largest mo­tor­cy­cle maker, has be­come a strate­gic in­vestor in startup Grab, the largest ride-shar­ing app in South­east Asia, as part of a part­ner­ship to ex­pand the lat- ter’s op­er­a­tions.

Grab’s al­liance with Honda is part of its ex­pan­sion strat­egy for the re­gion as it moves beyond tra­di­tional car-hail­ing, where it com­petes with Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc.

Grab now of­fers a sim­i­lar ser­vice with mo­tor­cy­cles where a driver will pick up pas­sen­gers and give them rides, a busi­ness model pi­o­neered in the re­gion by Go-Jek.

The deal also marks the Ja­panese au­tomaker’s first in­vest­ment in a ride-hail­ing com­pany.

Grab, with a val­u­a­tion said to sur­pass $3 bil­lion, now plans to roll out its GrabBike mo­tor­cy­cle-hail­ing ser­vice beyond the three mar­kets in which it is cur­rently avail­able.

“Mo­tor­cy­cle is our fastest grow­ing seg­ment,” Ming Maa, pres­i­dent of Grab, said on Mon­day. “It’s a very im­por­tant seg­ment for us to con­tinue grow­ing.”

Ride-hail­ing star­tups have be­gun to team up with tra­di­tional au­tomak­ers around the world as com­pe­ti­tion in­ten­si­fies in the bur­geon­ing field of on-de­mand trans­porta­tion.

Grab, which op­er­ates in 34 cities across six coun­tries, cur­rently of­fers mo­tor­bike-hail­ing ser­vices in In­done­sia, Thailand and Viet­nam.

The deal marks the first time Honda is in­vest­ing in a ride-shar­ing com­pany, ac­cord­ing to com­pany spokes­woman Tomoko Take­mori. Honda will use its own tech­nolo­gies to ease ur­ban con­ges­tion and cut emis­sions by em­ploy­ing more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly mo­tor­bikes.

The two com­pa­nies will set up teams to study de­tails of the al­liance, she said.

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