Grab rival Be Group gets $84m loan for Vietnam expansion

Be Group has expanded into deliveries, online groceries and insurance, and operates in 28 provinces and cities. PHOTO: BE.COM.VN

HANOI - Vietnamese ride-hailing start-up Be Group says it has received a loan facility of at least US$60 million (S$84 million) as it seeks to further challenge Grab Holdings in the South-east Asian country.

The loan from Deutsche Bank includes a provision that will allow financing to increase to as much as US$100 million, Be Group chief executive officer Vu Hoang Yen said in an interview in Hanoi.

The funds will be used to expand and enhance its primary services, which include ride-hailing, food delivery and digital banking.

Vietnam's fast-expanding ride-hailing sector is seeing renewed competition from companies like Indonesia's GoJek and FastGo Vietnam as countries ease from pandemic-linked lockdowns. The market is forecast to grow at a compounded annual rate of more than 28 per cent over the next five years, according to research company Mordor Intelligence.

Launched in 2018, Be Group has expanded into deliveries, online groceries, insurance, telecom service bundles and financial services, operating in 28 provinces and cities. To date, its app has been installed on more than 20 million mobile devices.

The company - the owner and developer of the on-demand multi-service consumer platform "be" - expects to surpass 10 million active users next year, Ms Yen said. Be aims to more than double that figure by 2026.

The company has a 30 per cent to 40 per cent share of the ride-hailing market in Hanoi, and 25 per cent to 35 per cent in Ho Chi Minh City, Ms Yen said. Singapore-based Grab had about a 75 per cent ride-hailing market share in Vietnam in the first half of 2020, according to research firm Statista.

Last month, Grab reported a US$547 million net loss for the second quarter, a sign of the challenges in turning its ride-hailing and delivery businesses profitable. BLOOMBERG

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