Southeast Asia ride-hailing giant Grab has signed a partnership agreement with Indonesian property developer Sinar Mas Land to develop technological transformation in one of the latter’s smart city projects in the outskirt of Jakarta.
In a statement, Grab said it will provide smart and clean mobility solutions in the area of BSD City, South of Jakarta, to support the growth of its micro and small businesses, as well as drive technology development to transform various aspects of life in the integrated smart digital city.
“Smart cities require services that improve the quality of life and convenience of day-to-day living, and the BSD integrated smart digital city is ideal for Grab to pilot and offer new services that meet the high expectations of our customers,” said Grab Indonesia President Ridzki Kramadibrata.
As part of this agreement, Grab will establish a Grab Innovation and Engineering Lab as the research and development centre for innovation in the city. The innovation centre will utilise AI technology to create a smart and clean transportation system through three collaborative project plans, which include a mapping of the city, the trial of a personal mobile device to facilitate close-range transportation at affordable prices and pilot shared mobility solutions.
Grab’s initiative follows a similar move made by Apple last year, when the US tech giant opened a research centre and developer academy in BSD City. In fact, Grab’s innovation centre will be located in the same building as that of Apple’s.
The partnership between Sinar Mas Land and Grab will also support local small and medium culinary businesses in the area by establishing a satellite kitchen called Kitchen by GrabFood, while also leveraging other Grab initiatives like Grab for Business and GrabAds.
BSD City, which hopes to become the Silicon Valley of Indonesia, will also be the home of Grab’s accelerator programme Grab Ventures Velocity. The programme, for which Grab has set aside a corpus of $250 million to be invested at the growth stage, gives local startups the opportunity to be further developed and incorporated into the Grab app.
Sinar Mas Land, which has developed more than 50 projects in Indonesia over 40 years, is the property development arm of conglomerate group Sinar Mas. This MoU signing is expected to be the first of more to come between Grab and the Sinar Mas Group, the companies said.
When asked whether Sinar Mas has plans to make a venture investment in Grab, Sinar Mas Land CEO and conglomerate heir Michael Widjaja said the company currently wants to focus only on the partnership at hand.
Grab is currently raising its Series H funding round, in which it has so far raised $3 billion from a host of international investors including Toyota, Hyundai, Yamaha, Microsoft, KASIKORNBANK, Booking Holdings, OppenheimerFunds, Ping An Capital and Tokyo Century.