After weeks of media speculation, Grab announced this week that it has acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia (SEA) operations.
The company will integrate the Uber assets into what it calls its online-to-offline mobile platform.
The acquisition expands not only Grab’s transportation services but also its food delivery capabilities, which the company said adds to the utility of its app for consumers.
“We will rapidly and efficiently expand GrabFood into all major SEA countries in the next quarter. We’re going to create more value for our growing ecosystem of consumers, drivers, agents – and now merchants and delivery partners,” Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder of Grab, said in a press release.
“GrabFood will also be another great use case to drive the continued adoption of GrabPay mobile wallet and support our growing financial services platform.”
Grab has expanded beyond its roots as a ride-hailing platform to a broader consumer-facing platform that drives financial inclusion through its access to consumers and small and micro-merchants. As a frequently used mobile app (it claims five million users daily), it has significant reach across the region.
Addressing this month’s Money20/20 Asia conference in Singapore, Grab founder and CEO Anthony Tan said, “I wake up every day thinking about how we are going to empower the next 100 million micro entrepreneurs by 2020.”
Earlier this month, the company launched its financial services platform, which it calls Grab Financial.
Referring to its future plans for growth, Grab said in this week’s announcement that it would continue to expand the offerings available through Grab Financial. The platform includes micro-financing, insurance and other financial services in addition to payments. Its GrabPay mobile wallet will be available in all countries across Southeast Asia this year, it said.
For its part, Uber told employees that it plans to focus on organic growth going forward.
“This transaction now puts us in a position to compete with real focus and weight in the core markets where we operate, while giving us valuable and growing equity stakes in a number of big and important markets where we don’t,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.
Also this week, Europe’s Sky News reported that Uber has applied for a Dutch payments license.
“An e-money license will enable us to support the continued innovation and growth of our business in Europe by streamlining our payment processes,” an Uber spokesperson was quoted as confirming to the publication.
Uber is maintaining an interest in Southeast Asia with a 27.5 percent stake in Grab. Khosrowshahi will also join Grab’s board.
With this acquisition, Grab takes over Uber’s assets and operations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.