PH Digest: LaLa World partners with Rebit; Grab to invest despite losses

Lala World founder and CEO Sankalp Shangari (right) converses with an underbanked.

Asian blockchain and artificial intelligence technology firm LaLa World has partnered with remittance firm Rebit.ph in the Philippines while Grab said it will continue to invest in the country despite suffering losses.

Blockchain solutions firm LaLa World partners with Rebit.ph

Singapore-based blockchain solutions startup LaLa World is entering the Philippine payments market by forging a strategic partnership with blockchain-powered remittance company Rebit.ph, according to a statement on Wednesday.

The partnership, according to LaLa World, will bring increased access to financial services for the unbanked in the Philippines.

Citing data from the World Bank, LaLa World said, the Philippines is the third largest recipient for remittances in the world with a total of $32.8 billion transferred in 2017, amounting to 10.8% of its GDP.

Grab to continue investing in the Philippines despite losses

Grab Philippines said it lost P2.91 billion ($55.6 million) last year and may continue to see losses, totalling P7.5 billion ($143 million), in 2020 if the Philippine government continues to impose price caps and regulatory regimes in the ride-hailing industry.

However, Grab Philippines head Brian Cu said the company will continue to invest in the Philippines with a budget of around P3 billion ($57 million) in the next 12 to 18 months.

During an open forum with Grab drivers, Cu said, Grab Philippines is still in its investment mode and was not expecting to earn anytime sooner and said the losses are still within the company’s budget forecast.

The operating costs of Grab Philippines have increased to P4.57 billion ($87 million) last year from P2.45 billion ($47 million) in 2016 while its net losses amounted to P2.91 billion in 2017 compared to P1.56 billion ($29.8 million) in 2016.

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