Grab vehicles lined up for display. Source: fivestarsandamoon.

Japan: Financial group Tokyo Century invests in Grab to roll out new driver services

GRAB has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Japan’s Tokyo Center, a financial services company, in a strategic partnership to introduce new services for GrabCar drivers.

According to Deal Street Asia, both companies have signed a “memorandum of understanding”, which states that Grab will be offering extra lease and rental car options to its drivers. This applies to drivers in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Yasushi Yoshino,Tokyo Century’s senior executive managing officer, said in a joint statement: “Through our partnership, we will accelerate the growth of our business through new types of mobility, such as ride-hailing, develop financial services using the advanced technology of Grab’s digital platform, and expand our auto finance business across Southeast Asia.”

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Ming Maa, Grab’s president, said the investment would help the ride-hailing company extend its services to meet user demand.

The partnership will allow Tokyo Century to offer GrabCar drivers packages that allow them to buy or own the car they use to ferry people around in, reports TechCrunch. The companies hope to attract more drivers to the ride-hailing platform.

Uber has been offering similar packages to its own drivers since last year, but Grab’s monopoly on Southeast Asia will most likely see this venture taking off quite effectively to rival Uber.

TechCrunch adds that Grab is also in the midst of developing a mobile payment platform in hopes of weaning Southeast Asian customers off a predominantly cash habit. Earlier this week, the company introduced GrabPay, which allows riders to store credit on the app and top-up balance via local banks, ATMs, and selected stores.