Hyundai to Pump Billions into Southeast Asia's Grab Taxi App

  • By Lee Mi-ji

    November 08, 2018 13:46

    Hyundai vice chairman Chung Eui-sun is investing an extra W284 billion into ride-hailing app Grab, the Uber of Southeast Asia (US$1=W1,122). This is the biggest amount Hyundai has ever invested in a foreign company.

    Hyundai said Wednesday it will invest US$250 million into the Singapore-based company after investing another $25 million in January. But Hyundai did not reveal how big a stake that will give it.

    Grab is the No. 1 ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia and globally ranks third after DiDi of China and Uber of the U.S. It is available in 235 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries and accounts for a whopping 75-percent share of the market there.

    Since its establishment in 2012, cumulative usage has reached 2.5 billion rides.

    Hyundai vice chairman Chung Eui-sun (right) shakes hands with Anthony Tan, the CEO and co-founder of ride-hailing service Grab, in Singapore on Tuesday. /Bloomberg

    The investment is part of Chung's "smart mobility" project that has to do with making transportation systems more intelligent and is at the core of Hyundai's future car business.

    The carmaker has been aggressive in carrying out the project since early this year, forming strategic partnerships with global mobility service companies in Australia, China, India and the U.S.

    "We will transform ourselves from an automaker to a smart mobility solution provider," Chung pledged at a company event in India in September. "Changes in the field of mobility enable not only changes in our lifestyles but also create solutions to environmental and energy problems."

    Lee Hang-koo at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade said, "The global automobile market is shifting from ownership to sharing. Hyundai is late to the race, but it's good news that it has started to move."

    Hyundai will work with Grab on electric vehicle projects that will start in Singapore next year. It will first provide 200 EVs and gradually increase the numbers. 

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