Grab unveils major investment plans for Vietnam

Ride-hailing firm Grab plans on investing “several hundred million dollars” in Vietnam since it sees the country as its next growth market.

Grab unveilled the plan just weeks after it disclosed a $2 billion investment plan for Indonesia.

The proposed investment plan marks Vietnam as one of Asia’s fastest growing economy and underscores Grab’s eagerness to put to work the billions of dollars it has raised from investors.

“We’re very excited about Vietnam. We see very similar characteristics to Indonesia,” said Grab’s President Ming Maa.

Just like Go-Jek, an Indonesian ride-hailing startup, Grab is evolving into a one-stop shop service provider for varied services including food delivery, payments, hotel bookings in Southeast Asia and logistics.

With its app installed on more than 160 million mobile devices across 8 countries, Grab stated, its planned investments in Indonesia are aimed to build a next-generation transport network while transforming the delivery of critical services including healthcare.

Just like in Indonesia, many young and middle class consumers in Vietnam are using apps to access services, said Maa.

He went on to add, “I would expect us to invest over several hundred million dollars into growing our Vietnam business,” without divulging investment specifics.

By rolling out a range of services at varied price points, Maa said he is confident of Grab sustaining its high growth rates. Grab’s backers include Microsoft, Toyota, Hyundai and Didi Chuxing.

One of Southeast Asia’s biggest start-up, Grab has been valued at around $14 billion. Grab is also betting heavily on its payment business to fuel growth in financial services.

“We’re just at the tip of the iceberg for financial services,” said Maa while adding that developing the region’s largest payment mobile wallet gave Grab valuable data insight into customers and drivers on its network.

Grab aims to use those insights to create customer-specific financial products including for its insurance, credit and wealth management offerings.

Significantly, Maa disclosed, Grab also intends to take up a digital banking license in Singapore. Singapore’s central bank has announced plans to issue up to five online-only bank licenses. An announcement to this effect with detailed guidelines is expected to be forthcoming in the coming weeks.

“By using deflationary forces like digital banking, we are able to provide very similar sets of financial services at much lower cost than what traditional banks are able to provide,” said Maa, who earned a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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