When ride-hailing companies first introduced the idea of having customers use a mobile app to call for a ride, it did not take long for that aspect of the business to begin evolving. Such tech companies have hit upon creating a “super app,” one that is able to perform any business transaction for their users online, from arranging transportation to having food and other product orders delivered. Services such as digital payments and financial assistance are also being considered. Singaporean-based ride-hailing company Grab has been building up their app’s multi-functionality to get a leg up on regional rival GoJek, and they have just gotten funding to add financial services features.

CNN Phillipines has it that Grab has lucked out on getting a massive investment with which they can funnel into developing their primarily ride-hailing aid into a true super app for Southeast Asia. Said investment is to the tune of $850 million, courtesy of two Grab investors from Japan, namely Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the largest bank in the country, and the info-tech firm TIS. This money, close to a billion dollars total, with go towards developing digital payment and finance service features for the Grab mobile app, with the investors also serving as co-developers.

The Singapore tech company is going all-out on building up its prospective super app to stay one step ahead of their only notable rival in the SEA region: GoJek, a similar ride-hailer founded in Indonesia and based in Jakarta. The fact that GoJek already launched ride-hailing and other online mobile services in Singapore since 2018 only makes the matter urgent for Grab, especially as the Jakarta tech firm has its own heavy investment backing from the likes of Visa, Google, Tencent and more. And it remains dominant in Indonesia despite Grab’s own operational inroads there.

Financial services being offered by Grab via their app include cash loans and consumer insurance, the usual bread-and-butter of other dedicated apps in that corner of the finance market. Already the Grab app has a connection to video streaming service and fellow Singaporean company Hooq. The $850 million investment from Japan could go a long way towards improving what Grab already has introduced last 2019.

Image courtesy of Jakarta Post