DiDi Chuxing and SoftBank are investing a combined $2 billion in Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi, Southeast Asia’s premier ride-hailing app. The company, which operates in 65 cities across seven nations, is now valued at an estimated $6bn–with $500m additional funding expected, according to the Singapore-headquartered company.
Grab, founded by Malaysian Harvard Business School alumni Tan Hooi Ling and Anthony Tan, now process three million rides each day, or 95% of the local market. Its closest competitor is Indonesian firm Go-Jek, which itself has raised almost $2bn in a race for ride-hailing’s lucrative developing markets.
“We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with DiDi and SoftBank,” wrote Tan 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, and recognize that Grab is ideally positioned to capitalise on the massive market opportunities.”
Grab’s investment presents yet fiercer competition for ride-hail giant Uber, which has already pulled out of Russia and China in recent months. The San Francisco-based firm has already faced a hailstorm of criticism in 2017 for employment and sexual harassment scandals. Longtime CEO Travis Kalanick was forced out last month for his part in the issues.
This investment makes Grab the most valuable tech startup in Southeast Asia. It is yet another huge funding round led by Japan’s Softbank, which in May launched its $93bn Vision Fund–the biggest in the world.
“Grab is using technology to address transportation and payments, some of the biggest challenges present in Southeast Asia, and we believe Grab is a tremendously exciting company in a dynamic and promising region,” said SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. “SoftBank is excited to deepen this partnership and we look forward to continuing to support Grab’s journey.”