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