Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation

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The Japanese giant's investment values Grab, South-east Asia's largest car-hailing service, at just over US$10 billion, Bloomberg reported.

Toyota announced today that it has concluded an agreement with ride-sharing app company Grab to strengthen their existing partnership and expand collaboration in Southeast Asia to drive further advances in Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

Toyota Motor making its largest bet to date on ride hailing with a $1 billion investment in Singapore's Grab Holdings. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a strategy similar to the one it has employed at Japan Taxi.

A Toyota (tm) executive will be appointed to Grab's board, and another Toyota employee will be seconded to Grab to as an executive officer, the carmaker said Wednesday.

It is also the latest collaboration between a global vehicle maker and a technology firm as ride-hailing companies dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, raising the risk of a future where auto ownership declines in favour of such services.

Wednesday's announcement deepens Toyota's partnership with Grab, following an earlier, undisclosed investment by the automaker's trading arm a year ago.

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Toyota also has ties to Uber.

It will allow Grab to further expand its range of online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, deeper into the region.

"A board seat nearly guarantees that Grab will buy cars from Toyota", said Steve Man, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong.

"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. General Motors, Daimler and Honda Motor are among manufacturers that are investing in ride-hailing applications and developing self-driving vehicles. Toyota is an incredible company that has done so much for the world. It invested an undisclosed sum in the United States company in 2016. It also has Southeast Asia's biggest land transportation fleet, delivering over six million rides per day. "We want to be the one-stop mobility platform for users". Earlier this year, Hyundai (HYMTF) alsoinvested in Grab.

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 worldwide push. "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 and president of Toyota's in-house Connected Car Company, said.