Microsoft to invest in Singapore-based ride-sharing service Grab
Microsoft to invest in Singapore-based ride-sharing service Grab
A woman stands outside the Grab transport office in Singapore
11 October, 2018, 09:55
President of Grab, Ming Maa, has said that Grab is expecting to raise US$3 billion this year, which the firm will put towards expanding their online-to-offline services in their bid to becoming the "everyday superapp" of choice for consumers in the region.
As the top mobile online-to-offline platform in Southeast Asia, Grab operates in 235 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries.
The investment is Microsoft's first in the Southeast Asia ride-hailing market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Grab will move to MicrosoftAzure as its preferred cloud platform.
"We're excited to team up to transform the customer experience as well as enhance the delivery of digital services for the millions of users who rely on Grab for safe and affordable transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments, and financial services". Microsoft has a history of partnering up with ride-hailing services, the company invested and partnered with Uber in the year 2015 and in 2017, it started working with Ola to build a connected auto platform and also to provide in-car entertainment through its Azure cloud-computing service.
Grab was also in the news recently owing to its deal with SoftBank which is set to invest over $500 million in the ride-hailing firm. "Tapping into the power of Microsoft's intelligent cloud and AI capabilities, the companies will engage on a number of innovation technology projects to transform the experience for customers".
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The Singapore-headquartered company says it has a Southeast Asia market share of 95 percent in third-party taxi-hailing and 71 percent in private vehicle hailing. The collaborative Microsoft and Grab partnership will see the use of Outlook integration to book rides directly in the email software, Kaizala that will enable group communication and work management with Grab, and Microsoft Rewards Gift Cards for loyalty programs.
Microsoft and Grab added that they will work together to develop new ways to verify passengers and drivers, using facial recognition technology with built-in AI at a time when user safety has come under threat.
Among the most interesting of features being researched by the two is the ability of the Grab app to transform a photo of a customer's location, taken with the phone, into an actual address that is sent to the driver.
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