Yamaha hops aboard Grab's motorbike services

Yamaha Motor has agreed to invest US$150 million (S$206 million) in Singapore-based Grab and the two will collaborate on motorcycle-ride services in South-east Asia, with a focus on Indonesia.
Yamaha Motor has agreed to invest US$150 million (S$206 million) in Singapore-based Grab and the two will collaborate on motorcycle-ride services in South-east Asia, with a focus on Indonesia.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Grab is attracting more global backers as the Asian ride-hailing service fights Uber Technologies, with a motorcycle maker becoming the latest investor.

Yamaha Motor agreed to invest US$150 million (S$206 million) in Grab and the two will collaborate on motorcycle-ride services in South-east Asia, with a focus on Indonesia, the Japanese manufacturer said in a statement yesterday.

Singapore-based Grab is teaming up with global giants to expand its reach after forcing Uber out of South-east Asia earlier this year.

Toyota Motor said in June it was investing US$1 billion in Grab.

Last month, Hyundai Motor Group also agreed to invest an additional US$250 million in Grab and sell it a fleet of electric vehicles as the automaker expands in mobility services.

Under a broadened strategic partnership between the two companies, Hyundai will start electric-vehicle pilot projects with Grab in Singapore next year and collect consumer and driving data from the vehicles.

Carmakers and technology companies alike are working towards a future where autonomous robo-taxis will lessen the need for individual car ownership.

The focus on Indonesia means that Grab is intensifying its push against local contender Go-Jek, a Jakarta-based start-up that has gained popularity with its motorbike ride-hailing app. Go-Jek, in turn, started its car ride-hailing service in Grab's home turf last month.

Yamaha said the pact will make it easier for Grab drivers to buy motorbikes, while the motorcycle maker plans to leverage Grab's ride-hailing know-how in future product development.

Meanwhile, Vietnam's newest ride-hailing player be said yesterday it secured "hundreds of millions US dollars" of investments as it gets ready for launch next week to compete with regional players such as Grab.

The app be, unveiled by Be Group, will go live on Dec 17 with car-and bike-riding services and aims to have 110,000 drivers across Vietnam by the end of next year, its founder and chief executive, Mr Tran Thanh Hai, said. The app will also have food, delivery, e-payment and financing services in the future, Mr Hai said at its launch in Hanoi. He did not rule out the chances of be expanding outside Vietnam. The company did not reveal the quantum of funding or who its investors are.

Grab had 175,000 drivers and bikers in Vietnam as of September and is the most prominent player in Vietnam after it pushed out Uber.

Go-Jek entered Vietnam in August, eyeing to grab a share of the fast-growing market, which also has several other local players.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2018, with the headline 'Yamaha hops aboard Grab's motorbike services'. Print Edition | Subscribe