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Toyota to Buy $1 Billion Grab Stake in Push to Ride Hailing
13 June 2018, 06:38 | Hattie Nash
Singapore’s Grab gets US$1 billion from Toyota as Southeast Asia battle heats up
The deal extends Toyota's cooperation with Grab, the largest ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, the carmaker said in a statement Wednesday, without disclosing what percentage of Grab it will own.
The automaker on Wednesday said by deepening the partnership, it hoped to achieve connectivity for Grab's rental vehicle fleet across Southeast Asia and offer financing, insurance and maintenance services to drivers based on data collected on its platform.
The world's most profitable auto manufacturer is investing $1 billion in Singapore's Grab Holdings Inc., valuing Southeast Asia's largest car-hailing service at just more than $10 billion, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
To accelerate decision-making, one Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab to as an executive officer, with Toyota considering more personnel exchanges in the future.
"Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia", Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive vice-president, said in the release.
Toyota's investment will allow Grab, which counts peer Didi and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp as investors, to further expand its range of online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, deeper into the region. It has also backedJapan Taxi, an Uber rival run by the chairman of Tokyo's biggest taxi operator. The recorder, developed by Toyota for corporate fleets, has been installed in 100 Grab rental cars.
Other automakers have put money into the ride-hailing industry.
"As a global leader in the automative industry, Toyota's investment in Grab is based on their conviction in our leadership in driving the adoption of new mobility solutions and expanding [online-to-offline] mobile services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, in the region", said Ming Maa, Grab's president. In addition, collaborations in driving-data-based automotive insurance, financial services for Grab drivers and maintenance services are also contemplated under the new partnership. In 2016, General Motors invested US$500 million in Lyft, and Volkswagen also poured US$300 million into Israeli taxi app Gett in the same year.
Toyota, the world's most valuable carmaker with a market capitalization of about $221 billion, has sought partnerships with a pantheon of tech companies including Amazon Inc. and Apple Inc.in a bet that data will be a key part of its future.
Updates with Toyota's earlier Grab stake in fifth paragraph.
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.
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