Toyota to invest $1 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab

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The value of six-year-old Grab will be just over $10 billion after the investment, said a person familiar with the matter. Earlier this year, Hyundai also invested in Grab.

When asked about other investors in this round, a Grab spokesman told The Business Times: "Toyota will be one of our lead investors for this round".

The investment by Toyota, which is the largest ever by an automotive manufacturer in the global ride-hailing sector, will allow Grab to expand its range of O2O services like GrabFood and GrabPay, according to a company statement.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018.

Other automakers have put money into the ride-hailing industry.

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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. The carmaker first invested an undisclosed amount in Grab in August previous year, after it invested in US-based Uber in 2016 in a partnership for a financing programme that allowed Uber drivers to lease vehicles from Toyota and drive for Uber to cover the payments.

The investment comes as Toyota works to adapt to what company president Akio Toyoda calls "profound change" in the industry.

Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to invest USD1 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as a lead investor in the company's ongoing financing round. Meanwhile Japan's SoftBank Group Corp - also an investor in Grab and Uber - last month said it would invest $2.25 billion in GM's autonomous vehicle unit Cruise. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a similar strategy it has employed with Japan Taxi, said Bloomberg. "We want to be the one-stop mobility platform for users". The Malaysian-born but now Singapore-based company has its namesake app in over 100 million mobile devices, giving passengers access to over 6.6 million drivers and agents.

Grab will also work with Toyota on connected auto services such as user-based insurance, financing programmes and predictive maintenance features for Grab's drivers. Since then, Grab has boosted its grip on Southeast Asia by buying Uber's business in the region. Uber acquired 27.5 percent of Grab in exchange for the US firm's Southeast Asian business earlier this year.

Last month, Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment firm Go-Jek said it would enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, investing $500 million in its global push.

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