UOB invests in Grab, Go-Jek partners DBS in latest financial services salvo

A GrabBike motorcycle driver, left, and a Go-Jek motorcycle driver wait for orders in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Go-Jek and Grab announced new financial services alliances on Monday as the battle to control users’ wallets (and to continue making headlines) heats up.

Grab offered the meatier announcement of the day – it has forged a strategic alliance with United Overseas Bank Ltd (UOB), which entails an undisclosed investment from the lender into the ride-hailing unicorn.

“Yes, UOB has made a strategic investment into Grab as part of the deal, cementing Grab’s position as the go-to partner for leading organisations to collaborate with as they serve ASEAN’s growing number of consumers and small businesses. We plan to roll out the features [with UOB] in 2019. Specific details will be shared at a later stage,” a Grab spokesperson told this portal.

Prior to this investment, Grab had raised $2.75 billion in an ongoing $3-billion Series H round.

The partnership with UOB will see Grab integrate the former’s digital banking services into its mobile app. The companies said they will also explore the launch of co-branded credit cards.

RIval Go-Jek, on the other hand, announced a partnership with DBS Bank for regional payments ahead of its beta launch in Singapore “in the coming weeks”. A media statement, bafflingly, did not provide any details of the contours of the partnership.

Grab, UOB forge region-wide alliance

Grab’s tie-up with United Overseas Bank Ltd (UOB) was announced by its co-founder Tan Hooi Ling at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2018.

Under the partnership, UOB will become Grab’s preferred banking partner in Singapore, as well as a strategic credit partner for Grab in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The partnership will also enable Grab users to top up their GrabPay wallets directly from their UOB bank accounts.

“We’re thoroughly thrilled to launch this partnership. It means a lot to us as it is going to be a region-wide partnership – one where we can bring the expertise and know-how from UOB and pair it with Grab’s reach across the region… This partnership is part of the suite of partnerships that we have been launching because we have become the go-to partner for all world-class financial institutions that care about understanding Southeast Asia’s needs and serving them,” said Grab’s Tan.

UOB will also explore support for Grab in a number of other areas, including fleet financing, regional and centralised treasury managing solutions, and workplace banking services.

“Our alliance with Grab represents two like-minded companies harnessing our respective strengths to create value for consumers and to drive greater access to financial services in the region. The alliance will also complement our efforts to scale up our customer franchise across ASEAN,” said UOB deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong.

Grab had recently tied up with Mastercard, where it will issue virtual and physical prepaid cards to users in 2019. Last week, it secured a $50-million strategic investment from Thailand’s KASIKORNBANK, which also completed GrabPay’s entry into the six largest Southeast Asian markets.

Go-Jek inks partnership with DBS

Ahead of its expansion into Singapore, Indonesia-based ride-hailing major Go-Jek said it had entered into a strategic and regional partnership with the region’s largest lender, Singapore’s DBS Bank.

Under the partnership, Go-Jek will work with Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank on payment service offerings in the city-state, which will also be extended to other markets in Southeast Asia.

The ride-hailing startup is set to launch its beta ride-hailing app in Singapore in the coming weeks where DBS customers in Singapore will get to enjoy certain privileges upon launch. However, both DBS and Go-Jek did not elaborate when such services will be rolled out.

“We are very much looking forward to the launch of our beta ride-hailing service within the coming weeks. We know that people are desperate for more choice in the sector and we believe we can satisfy this demand. The response from the driver community since we opened pre-registration has been overwhelming and we are confident that by working with DBS, we will see the same level of excitement from consumers too,” said Go-Jek president Andre Soelistyo.

In October, Go-Jek launched a Singapore pre-registration portal for drivers in the city-state.

“As Singapore’s leader in payments with over four million debit/credit cards in circulation and DBS PayLah! being the nation’s most popular mobile wallet, we are committed to making payments simple, seamless and invisible for our customers.

“In doing so we are stepping up to partner with like-minded companies like Go-Jek, one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic technology companies, to build inclusive digital ecosystems for our customers,” said Tan Su Shan, group head of consumer banking and wealth management at DBS Bank.

Also read:

Go-Jek set for Singapore entry, launches portal for drivers to pre-register

Grab secures $50m funding from KASIKORNBANK, marks entry of payments biz in Thailand

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.