SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Grab, Uber Technologies Inc's biggest rival in Southeast Asia, is hiring more than 800 new research and development staff over the next two years as it seeks to boost its ride-hailing and payment services.
Two new R&D centers are opening in Bangalore and Ho Chi Minh City, the Singapore-based company said in a statement Wednesday.
The new locations expand Grab's engineering centers beyond Beijing, Jakarta, Singapore and Seattle. In Bangalore, Grab will recruit about 200 new researchers, who will develop new payments technologies for GrabPay, the company's digital-payments services.
Like its Indonesian rival Go-Jek, which has rolled out technology to let customers pay for rides and other services, Grab sees digital payments as an area to build a potentially lucrative business.
"There is now a huge payment opportunity that we are investing heavily into," Chief Operating Officer Tan Hooi Ling said. "These plans are big strategic bets we think are critical pillars for our growth going forward."
Mr Tan, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant who co-founded Grab with Anthony Tan in 2012, is leading the effort. She oversees Grab's operations, including research. Women make up 43 per cent of its 2,000-strong workforce and hold a number of senior positions in management and engineering.