Southeast Asian Ride-Hailing Firm Grab Buys India-Based Payments Startup

Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab said it has acquired an India-based payments startup, iKaaz, to help expand its digital payments platform GrabPay.

Grab, which competes with Uber Technologies, says it’s the biggest player in Southeast Asia. The firm said the flexibility and scalability of iKaaz’s technology made it ideally suitable for Southeast Asia’s diverse payments landscape and large unbanked population.

The iKaaz team will join Grab’s research and development centre in Bengaluru, India. The company did not disclose the deal value. Last year, Grab bought Indonesian online payment startup Kudo.

Earlier this month, Hyundai said it had invested in Grab, the South Korean car maker’s first foray into a growing sector as it tries to branch out after a sales slump in China. The two didn’t say how much money Hyundai will pour into the company, but Grab will get a helping hand, rolling out services using some of Hyundai’s eco-friendly cars.

The app’s latest round of fundraising had other big names, Didi Chuxing in China and from Japan, Softbank, the same investor that will snap up a big stake in Uber early this year. Hyundai’s interest in Southeast Asia is a knock-on effect from political tension between China and South Korea last year, caused by Seoul’s deployment of a US anti-missile system. The diplomatic friction hurt South Korean firms that rely on the Chinese market.

Hyundai also said earlier this month it will team up with Silicon Valley startup Aurora to work on self-driving cars, a shift away from its usual habit of making new tech by itself.

Written with inputs from Reuters

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