RIDE-sharing giant Grab announced it has opened two new research and development (R&D) centers in Bangalore, India, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in an effort to increase support for its growing multi-modal transport platform and proprietary payment systems.
The two centers will double the company’s R&D global capabilities to keep up with its rapid growth through technology and innovation.
“At Grab, we are focused on solving the toughest local problems through technology,” said Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling.“
“Southeast Asia is developing at a breakneck pace and we have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver a platform which caters to the region’s mobile-first environment and infrastructural needs.”
The two centers will serve different roles within the company. The Bangalore center will be tapped to house 200 engineers, who will focus on developing new payments technologies for GrabPay, Grab’s digital payments platform.
Vietnam’s center will capitalize on Ho Chi Minh City’s engineering talent to create tailored in-app user experiences for Vietnam. The center will also support the Singapore office’s work on user experience enhancement for the region.
The last year has seen strategic moves by Southeast Asia’s leading technology company to expand its reach across countries in the Asean region, and find footholds in South Asia.
Its ride-sharing services have seen new transport services such as the GrabShare carpool option, GrabCoach and GrabShuttle in select countries in the region.
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Such moves adhered closely to Grab’s philosophy of tailoring transport solutions by region and demand, rather than the blanket system implemented by its rival, Uber.
“Our philosophy is to develop our highly localized products in the countries where our consumers live, while tapping into the best specialized tech talent around the world to enhance the user experience, efficiency and effectiveness of our platform,” Tan said.
Grab has also rolled out GrabRewards, a customer loyalty program, to its 36 million user base which account for a 95 percent share of the ride-sharing market.
Grab currently operates in 39 cities across six countries, supported by 710,000 drivers.
In response to its expanding operations, Grab also announced 800 new R&D jobs will be created over the next two years in its centers in Beijing, Bangalore, Jakarta, Vietnam, Singapore and Seattle.