Ride-hailing firm Grab has formed a partnership with Thailand's Kasikornbank (KBank) to start a mobile payment app.
KBank has also made a US$50 million (S$69 million) investment in Singapore-based Grab as part of the company's ongoing fund-raising round that has also included Toyota Motor, Microsoft and Hyundai Motor.
The investment is a first by KBank in an international firm with a core business outside of Thailand.
The mobile wallet, to be known as GrabPay by KBank, could start operating early next year, it was announced yesterday.
It will allow Grab customers to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds, buy products and services online and make QR code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand.
Thailand's fourth-largest bank and Grab will jointly offer products to their customers, including commercial loans, and access to Grab for Business to improve corporate transport expense management and increase brand engagement through Grab's ad initiatives.
"Our co-branded mobile wallet and strategic investment in Grab enables us to bring Grab's scale to our merchant and consumer network in Thailand," Kasikornbank president Patchara Samalapa said.
This partnership makes Grab Financial the first mobile payment platform to launch e-money-licensed payment services across the Asean-6.
'' MR REUBEN LAI, senior managing director of Grab Financial, on the partnership with Kasikornbank or KBank.
The Bank of Thailand has reported that 68 per cent of transactions in the country are still being carried out in cash.
Mr Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial, said in a statement: "This partnership makes Grab Financial the first mobile payment platform to launch e-money-licensed payment services across the Asean-6."
The Asean-6 countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
Mr Lai told a briefing yesterday that Grab wants to enable its consumers to transact across South-east Asia using a single mobile app.
The company will adopt a similar partnership-based approach to realise this aim.
Kasikornbank is the latest financial institution to form a partnership with Grab as the tech firm expands in the sector, with other partners including Malayan Banking and Mastercard.
The investment, while relatively small, is the first from South-east Asia's second-largest economy.
It is part of a funding round in which Grab has so far raised about $2.7 billion from investors such as Booking Holdings, Microsoft, Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor, as well as financial institutions including OppenheimerFunds, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and Citi Ventures.
THE BUSINESS TIMES, REUTERS