With the objective of collaborating on technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence, Microsoft is investing as a part of partnership in Grab, Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm.
The deal value has not been disclosed yet, however Grab said that out of the $3 billion it had expected to raise by the end of the year, it has managed to raise $2 billion currently.
$500 million investment deal was about to close between Grab and its already existing backer SoftBank Group Corp according to reports last week.
Sources have informed that the remainder amount of the funding is being expected to be funded by strategic and financial firms.
Toyota Motor Corp and other financial firms including Vulcan Capital which is owned by Microsoft’s co- founder Paul Allen have contributed to the $2 million that Grab has raise in 2018 before Tuesday’s deal.
In the last six years, Grab’s market has spread over 8 Southeast Asian countries covering 235 cities with its headquarter in Singapore.
A whole range of operations apart from ride- hailing including services such as food and parcel deliveries, electronic money transfers, micro- loans and mobile payments are expected to be added with the objective of transforming Grab into a leading consumer technology group.
According to the company’s statement on Tuesday, it is planning to work with Microsoft to enhance the pick- up experience by exploring technologies such as facial image recognition and computer vision. An instance of the same is that a customer will be able to share an actual address with the driver by merely sharing a picture of his or her current location.
Microsoft’s Azure will be used as the preferred cloud platform and data analytics and fraud detection services according to the five- year agreement.
Fight for the Southeast Asian market share of spaces like ride- hailing, online payment and e- commerce is intensifying by the minute amongst global technology giants such as Alibaba, Tencent Holding Ltd, JD.com, Alphabet Inc’s Google and SoftBank.
Grabs’ Indonesian rival Go- Jek is also gearing up and expanding in the region which has increased competition for Grab.