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Alibaba Could Join Uber Rival Grab's $1.5 Billion Fundraising

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【Summary】Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is in talks to join in the fundraising of $1.5 billion in Grab, a leading ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia.

Original Claire    Jun 16, 2017 12:17 PM PT
Alibaba Could Join Uber Rival Grab's $1.5 Billion Fundraising

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is in talks to join in the fundraising of $1.5 billion in Grab, a leading ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia.

An insider familiar with the matter told Bloomberg yesterday that Alibaba's founder Jack Ma might be teaming up with Masayoshi Son of SoftBank Group Corp to invest in the Singapore based ride-hailing startup Grab, which is also a strong rival of Uber Technologies in the local area.

Softbank will provide most of the funding in Grab's latest round, with a pledge amount of $1 billion. Jack Ma's investment could come from either Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., or its payment subsidiary Ant Financial. Meanwhile, Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing company in China and a Grab backer, is also considering participating in the new round, according to insider sources.

Alibaba's participation is speculated by many as a way to compete with its rivaling company Tencent, who invested in Grab's competitor Go-Jek in May to promote its payment service. Now Grab already has a partnership with Ant Financial, which allows passengers to use Alipay through the Grab app.

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The Singapore based startup was founded in 2012 by two Harvard Business School graduates Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. Formerly known as GrabTaxi, the company's business plan was to make a mobile application that assigns available cabs to commuters nearby using mapping and location-sharing technology. Grab now offers a wide range of ride-hailing and logistic services through its app in seven Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. As of July 2016, It has 350,000 registered drivers in its network with its app downloaded to 19 million mobile devices.

Last year, Grab claimed that it had collected $750 million in fresh capital in Series F funding, which set a record in Southeast Asia, valuing the company at $3 billion. If the $1.5 billion new investment is finalized , the amount will break the record it made last year.

No matter what, Uber will have many local competitors around the world to contend with.



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