Left to right: Lippo Group Director John Riady, Grab Indonesia Managing Director Ridzki Kramadibrata, Kudo CEO Albert Lucius, Minister of Communications and Informatics Rudiantara, Grab Group CEO and Co-Founder Anthony Tan, Kudo COO and Co-Founder Agung Nugroho

In February, Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab launched its US$700 million-worth of “master plan” for the Indonesian market.

Part of the plan includes the set up of an R&D centre in Jakarta, and Grab soon followed up with confirming the long-rumoured acquisition of O2O e-commerce startup Kudo in April.

Today, Grab announced the opening of its new R&D centre in South Jakarta, in a media conference to update the milestones that the company has achieved since the master plan announcement.

The new R&D centre will be situated in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, in a location formerly known as Kudoplex, the headquarter of the e-commerce startup.

The sixth Grab R&D centre will employ up to 200 engineers by end of 2017, and is situated on a 4,500 square meter land.

According to Kudo CEO and Co-Founder Albert Lucius, the centre will focus on researching and developing technology to be used by Grab drivers and Kudo agents, as well as data on consumer behaviour and pattern.

“When you look at the amount of data across our Kudo agents and Grab drivers network, where you can learn about what people purchase in different zip codes in Indonesia … This is something that is really brand new in Indonesia … This is all about enabling technologies that cater to the offline, underserved population. Those are the people that are in-demand of our work,” he explained.

The centre will also serve as a knowledge-sharing platform where local tech communities can gather and share ideas and insights.

Also Read: Grab to launch taxi-sharing service in Singapore, making official something everyone is already doing

Grab also announced the finalisation of the integration between its platform and Kudo’s, with the earliest feature being Kudo agents acting as Grab driver recruitment point for tier-2 and tier-3 cities in Indonesia.

The companies plan to reveal more results of their collaboration in the upcoming months.

For the next step, Grab announced that it aimed to build five million new micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia by 2018, and to increase the number of its local engineering talents by the hundreds by end of year.

Grab Indonesia Managing Director Ridzki Kramadibrata also stated that Grab will continue to foster financial inclusion in the country, and that it continues to develop its cashless payment system GrabPay to “suit the needs of Indonesian people.”

The company will also continue to look for new Indonesian startups to invest in.

During the event, Grab Group CEO and Co-Founder Anthony Tan also revealed what led the company to acquire and collaborate with Grab –and it has something to do with a wok.

“I remember them sharing a story about some people in Makassar, where it is very hard for them to access [everyday needs like] a wok. They have to pay 50 per cent more to purchase it,” he said.

“That really bothered me as we were all born equal; why is it that some people have to go through such painful process to get something that they really need, like a wok? But because of Kudo, because they were able to give the people access by cutting off middlemen … People can access goods and daily needs to cook. And that for me is brilliant,” he closed.