One of the leading names in the ride-hailing arena, Grab grabbed all the headlines last year when it acquired Uber’s southeast Asia business and it has been revealed now that the company is in talks with Alibaba’s Ant Financial and PayPal as it, as it tries to carve out a place for itself in the fintech space and expand its base in the non transportation arena, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The watershed moment for this seven-year-old company was a deal to buy Uber’s regional service last year. But it hasn’t been a smooth ride for the company as was expected and it is facing increasing competition from its rivals like Google and Tencent-backed Go-Jek which is expanding its base in the Southeast Asian region.
The company is now trying to focus increasingly on the fintech space as digital spending is expected to triple in the Southeast region by 2025. The company is in talks with Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services business, and global payments firm PayPal over potential investments, sources have told TechCrunch.
Grab has been liked with Alibaba for quite some time but nothing concrete has materialized till now. Backing Grab would make sense for Alibaba as it would align perfectly with its aim to push into Southeast Asia, which has seen investments in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia among other markets.
According to sources close to the company, a spin-out could happen in the coming months and according to Deal Street Asia, Ant Financial could soon invest in Grab’s financial services arena. The main aim of Grab is to develop from just being the ride-hailing service app to develop into a daily app for Southeast Asia’s 600 million-plus consumers.
Speaking to TechCrunch on the sidelines of the Money2020 event in Singapore, Grab executive Reuben Lai said:
“This year is all about doubling down on financial services and really executing on that.”