Grab, Uber's rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

Grab, Uber's rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

Hyundai said on Thursday it had invested in Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab, in the South Korean automaker's first foray into the rapidly growing sector as it tries to diversify following a sales slump in China.

Hyundai and Grab said they would jointly develop services in Southeast Asia, including one utilising Hyundai's eco-friendly models such as the IONIQ Electric. It doesn't mention self-driving vehicles specifically amid the long list of buzzwords, but Hyundai is exploring autonomous vehicle technology through a partnership with Volkswagen Group and Aurora Innovation Inc. announced last week. Other investors in this Series G funding round - Grab's largest so far - include China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, SoftBank and Toyota Tsusho.

Hyundai also has services operational in the Netherlands and Austria, but a partnership with Grab - which claims 2.3 million drivers and 77 million consumer app downloads - would represent its most significant consumer exposure to date.

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The automaker does not have a vehicle manufacturing factory in Southeast Asia, although it has some pure assembly operations in Indonesia and Vietnam where cars are made from "knock-down" kits comprised of major component groups.

As per reliable sources, earlier in January 2017, Hyundai had entered into collaboration with WaiveCar for introducing electric vehicle auto sharing activities financed via advertisements. In October, Hyundai opened its first company-operated electric auto sharing service in metropolitan Amsterdam, Netherlands and later in November handed over the first fleet of Ioniq hybrid models for the new Stadtauto (meaning "city car") vehicle sharing service in Vienna, Austria. Grab now offers private vehicle, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across 8 countries and 168 cities in Southeast Asia.

Grab, which is Uber Technologies Inc.'s major rival in the region, continues to rise, with some reports suggesting it now holds a 75 percent market share.

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