Toyota invests in Grab’s latest RM10.7b funding round

Toyota, via its trading arm Toyota Tsusho Corp, is the latest participant in ride-hailing firm Grab’s current financing round that is expected to raise US$2.5 billion (RM10.67 billion).

The funding round was led by existing backers Chinese ride-hailing peer Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank. Toyota Tsusho Corp invested an undisclosed sum in Grab, the companies said in separate statements today, reported by Reuters.

Last month, Grab said that Didi and Softbank would add $2 billion and that $500 million would come from other sources, making it South-East Asia’s biggest-ever single round of financing. It is believed that this $2.5 billion fund raising would value the Singapore-based company founded by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling (pictured above) at $6 billion.

Toyota said it would install driving recorder devices in vehicles operated by Grab. Under a pilot program, Toyota will have its TransLog device installed in 100 rental cars operated by Grab, enabling the companies to analyse driving patterns as well as offer improved access to connected car services.

Grab says that it operates private car, motorcycle, taxi and carpool services across seven ASEAN countries with 1.2 million drivers. The company claims to have a market share of 95% in third-party taxi-hailing and 72% in private-vehicle hailing in South-East Asia. The latter is where it fights Uber, which can now increase focus on our region after waving the white flag in China.

Toyota already has a working relationship with Uber and an undisclosed investment in the San Francisco-based tech company. In the US, the carmaker provides flexible vehicle leasing terms for Uber drivers, while the two also plan to share R&D efforts.

Should the rise of ride-sharing shift the auto market away from private ownership, these investments that carmakers are putting into the tech companies such as Grab and Uber will act as a hedge.

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