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Toyota makes record $1 billion investment in ride-hailing firm Grab

13 June 2018

The deal extends Toyota's cooperation with Grab, the largest ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, the carmaker said in a statement Wednesday, without disclosing what percentage of Grab it will own. Since then, Grab has boosted its grip on Southeast Asia by buying Uber's business in the region.

Since August 2017, Toyota and Grab have been developing connected services for the latter, utilising driving data collected by Toyota's TransLog data-transmission driving recorder.

It also said Toyota will appoint an executive to Grab's board of directors while a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer. Toyota has also backed San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. and made investments in Japan Taxi, an Uber rival run by the chairman of Tokyo's biggest taxi operator.

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Grab called it the largest-ever investment globally by an automotive manufacturer in the ride-hailing sector.

"We are honored to be supported by industry leaders including Toyota, Uber, Didi and SoftBank", Ming Maa, president of Grab, said.

The investment comes as carmakers continue to pour money into ride-hailing services around the world, to help facilitate market share expansion by selling cars to ride-hailing firms or cooperate on connected vehicle solutions as the future of mobility appears to shift away from private auto ownership.

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Besides the namesake app that we're familiar with, Grab operates online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platforms in transportation, food and package delivery, mobile payments and financial services in 217 cities across eight ASEAN countries. Toyota said the Singapore-based startup has big growth potential in a region that is home to around 600 million people.

This will be done through both companies' work on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) - such as user-based insurance, financing program and predictive maintenance.

Toyota, the world's most valuable carmaker with a market capitalization of about $221 billion, has sought partnerships with a pantheon of tech companies including Amazon Inc. and Apple a bet that data will be a key part of its future. Six-year-old Grab has powerful backers though, including Uber, Didi and Son's SoftBank.

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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", said Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive VP and president of Toyota's in-house Connected Company. The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.

Toyota makes record $1 billion investment in ride-hailing firm Grab