Didi pumps mega money into re­gional Uber ri­val Grab

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By MA SI and CHENG YU

Didi Chux­ing, China’s big­gest ride-hail­ing com­pany, an­nounced on Mon­day that it will co­op­er­ate with Ja­panese tele­com com­pany SoftBank Group Corp to in­vest $2 bil­lion in Grab, Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc’s big­gest ri­val in South­east Asia.

The deal — Didi’s lat­est push to ex­pand its over­seas in­flu­ence — is ex­pected to help Grab grow lo­cal mar­ket share, while Uber is fac­ing a bunch of chal­lenges in the United States, in­clud­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of a sex­ist work cul­ture as well as driver protests.

An­thony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab, said the new cap­i­tal would also be used to ac­cel­er­ate the ap­pli­ca­tion of its GrabPay mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice in South­east Asia.

Grab is now avail­able in 65 cities across 7 coun­tries in the re­gion, giv­ing lo­cal con­sumers ac­cess to over 1.1 mil­lion driv­ers who of­fer pri­vate cars, hitch­ing ser­vices, mo­tor­bikes, taxis, car­pool­ing and other ser­vices. It said that it holds a 95 per­cent mar­ket share in third-party taxi-hail­ing and 71 per­cent in pri­vate ve­hi­cle hail­ing.

“We are de­lighted to deepen our strate­gic part­ner­ship with Didi and SoftBank,” Tan said in a state­ment.

“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,” he added.

Tan did not dis­close the com­pany’s lat­est val­u­a­tion af­ter this fund­ing round.

The deal came af­ter Didi in­vested an undis­closed amount in Grab as early as in 2015. Since then, the Bei­jing­based com­pany has been step­ping on the ac­cel­er­a­tor for global ex­pan­sion.

Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Chux­ing, said Grab is es­tab­lish­ing a clear lead­er­ship in South­east Asia’s internet econ­omy based on its mar­ket po­si­tion, su­pe­rior tech­nol­ogy and lo­cal in­sight.

“Didi and Grab reaf­firm our shared com­mit­ment to in­no­vat­ing lo­cal­ized so­lu­tions to global ur­ban devel­op­ment chal­lenges, from the world’s fastest-grow­ing mar­ket­places,” Cheng said in a state­ment.

Ear­lier this year Didi also in­vested an undis­closed amount in 99, a ma­jor rideshar­ing firm in Brazil, and as­sumed a seat on its board of di­rec­tors.

The com­pany said to date it has es­tab­lished a net­work of part­ner­ships reach­ing over 50 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion across more than 1,000 cities in North Amer­ica, South­east Asia, South Asia and South Amer­ica

Zhang Xu, an an­a­lyst at Bei­jing-based internet con­sul­tancy Analysys, said whether Didi can take on Uber in over­seas mar­kets will de­pend on how quickly it can in­te­grate its re­sources with its for­eign part­ners.

Didi and Grab reaf­firm our shared com­mit­ment to in­no­vat­ing lo­cal­ized so­lu­tions to global ur­ban devel­op­ment chal­lenges, from the world’s fastest-grow­ing mar­ket­places.” Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Chux­ing

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