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Didi pumps mega money into regional Uber rival Grab

By MA SI and CHENG YU | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-25 07:34

Didi Chuxing, China's biggest ride-hailing company, announced on Monday that it will cooperate with Japanese telecom company Soft-Bank Group Corp to invest $2 billion in Grab, Uber Technologies Inc's biggest rival in Southeast Asia.

The deal-Didi's latest push to expand its overseas influence-is expected to help Grab grow local market share, while Uber is facing a bunch of challenges in the United States, including accusations of a sexist work culture as well as driver protests.

Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab, said the new capital would also be used to accelerate the application of its GrabPay mobile payment service in Southeast Asia.

Grab is now available in 65 cities across 7 countries in the region, giving local consumers access to over 1.1 million drivers who offer private cars, hitching services, motorbikes, taxis, carpooling and other services. It said that it holds a 95 percent market share in third-party taxi-hailing and 71 percent in private vehicle hailing.

"We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with Didi and SoftBank," Tan said in a statement.

"We're encouraged that these two visionary companies share our optimism for the future of Southeast Asia and its on-demand transportation and payments markets," he added.

Tan did not disclose the company's latest valuation after this funding round.

The deal came after Didi invested an undisclosed amount in Grab as early as in 2015. Since then, the Beijing-based company has been stepping on the accelerator for global expansion.

Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing, said Grab is establishing a clear leadership in Southeast Asia's internet economy based on its market position, superior technology and local insight.

"Didi and Grab reaffirm our shared commitment to innovating localized solutions to global urban development challenges, from the world's fastest-growing marketplaces," Cheng said in a statement.

Earlier this year Didi also invested an undisclosed amount in 99, a major ride-sharing firm in Brazil, and assumed a seat on its board of directors.

The company said to date it has established a network of partnerships reaching over 50 percent of the world's population across more than 1,000 cities in North America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America

Zhang Xu, an analyst at Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys, said whether Didi can take on Uber in overseas markets will depend on how quickly it can integrate its resources with its foreign partners.

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