Ride-hailing platform Grab has received a strategic investment from Japanese automobile major Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Honda), marking the latest in a series of investments and partnerships the Singapore-based company has secured as it attempts to check the rapid expansion of rival Uber Technologies Inc.
Grab has also entered into a strategic partnership with Honda which will enable collaboration between the two on various benefits for GrabBike drivers and riders across countries.
The Japanese automaker’s undisclosed investment in Grab is part of the trend of car companies investing in ride-hailing firms. Earlier this year, Toyota Motor Corp said it had invested in Uber, and had also formed a strategic alliance with it, aimed at getting more drivers on the ride-hailing service.
Both Grab and Honda said they were “deeply committed” to make transportation safer and more convenient.
The two firms will work together on educating the motorbike drivers about safety, and other technological advancements and initiatives. Honda will be a key partner and shareholder of Grab on the innovative mobility solutions.
The Financial Times, in its report said that the latest deal will also involve Honda offering its units for sales to Grab drivers.
In September, Grab said, it had closed a new round of funding to the tune of $750 million led by SoftBank, and that deal had reportedly valued the company at $3 billion.
The latest deal comes just two weeks after Tokyo Century,Japan’s top car-leasing company made an undisclosed investment in Grab. But it must also be noted that that the Tokyo Century investment was part of an extended round of the $750 million financing it had raised in September.
Also in mid-2016, Indonesia’s Lippo Group had signed a partnership with Grab for the e-payment system.
These new deals indicate that the company has been making quick strides under its new president Ming Maa, who was earlier an M&A executive with SoftBank Group Corp.
Speaking on the development, Ming Maa said, “We are excited to enhance the GrabBike user experience for our rapidly growing community of GrabBike drivers and riders by partnering with Honda, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, and create a more sustainable and efficient transport supply for Southeast Asia.”
Founded in 2012 (the ride-hailing platform was then called MyTeksi in Malaysia), by Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan, Grab currently offers private car, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across six countries and 34 cities in Southeast Asia.
Grab said that one out of every four passengers were using multiple services.
“Grab aims to provide the widest variety of locally preferred cashless options,” the company’s statement added.
“In the midst of the dramatic structural change of the mobility industry, the ‘sharing economy’ that is rapidly expanding all around the world has great potential to broaden the concept of mobility itself. For the collaboration with Grab, we will discuss how we can offer safer and more convenient products and services for our shared goal of resolving issues and challenges facing society in Southeast Asia,” said Shinji Aoyama, operating officer and director of Honda.