Toyota just sunk another $US1 billion into Asian ride-sharing giant Grab

Picture: Business Insider/Jonathan Loh

  • It’s the second major investment in ride-share giant by Toyota
  • Values Grab around $US7 billion
  • Recently booked its one-billionth ride

Toyota is investing a further $US1 billion in ride-sharing giant Grab.

Until March this year, Grab was Uber’s biggest competitor in the Asian region.

So big that on March 25 Uber gave up the chase and sold its Southeast Asia rideshare and food delivery businesses in return for a 27.5% stake in Grab, and a spot on its board for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

On April 8, Uber’s rideshare service disappeared and commuters in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam switched over to the Grab app.

Founded in 2012 by Malaysian Harvard Business School graduates Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, Grab currently dominates the third-party and private car hailing markets across Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

At the end of 2017, it booked its one-billionth customer. It claims to have two million driving partners and books 3.5 million rides a day.

It counts Softbank and its Chinese equivalent, Didi Chuxing, among its largest backers. When Grab claimed the Softbank investment of $US250 million in 2014, it was at the time the largest made into a South East Asian internet company on public record.

From there, the investments grew – another $US350 million from Didi and China Investment Corporation in 2015; $US750 million from Softbank, Didi and Honda in 2016, then $US2.5 billion from Softbank, Didi and Toyota in 2017.

Toyota’s standalone investment today puts the company’s value around $US7 billion.

There has been speculation for several years about a potential IPO for Grab, but in April, CEO Anthony Tan told CNBC it was just one of “many options” for the company.

“Now that one sector of our business clearly has a clear path to profit that obviously becomes a closer and closer reality but as we think about how we grow in Grab Financial, how we grow in Grab Food all across the region, we see these as complementary and we see IPO as just one of the many options out there,” he said.

In a statement following today’s news, Tan said the partnership will enable the partners to create a “one-stop mobility platform in Southeast Asia”.

“We look forward to executing the same vision of the future. A future that will provide for safer and more affordable rides, more liveable cities, and millions of new micro businesses in the digital revolution,” he said.

Toyota executive VP Shigeki Tomoyama, who is president of hte in-house Connected Company, said the collaboration will utilise Toyota’s connected technologies.

“Together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia,” he said.

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