Southeast Asia ride-hailing giant Grab has raised US$50 million from major Thai banking group KASIKORNBANK (KBank) — the first international investment by the bank.
The deal marks a strategic partnership that will see Grab Financial bring its mobile payment platform GrabPay to Thailand. KBank will launch a co-branded mobile wallet “GrabPay by KBank” within the Grab app.
Anyone who uses GrabPay in Thailand will be able to shop online, transfer funds to each other and pay for services through the app. Also, thanks to Thailand’s national e-payments scheme, PromptPay, all QR-enabled merchants in Thailand will be able to accept ‘GrabPay by KBank’ upon activation.
The co-branded wallet is expected to be launched in early 2019. KBank’s “K PLUS” app and the Grab app will also be integrated across both apps starting in 2019.
KBank and Grab will also work together to jointly offer products to their customer base. These include KBank’s bank loans for merchants, corporate transport expense management tool Grab for Business, as well as Grab’s advertising solution.
“KASIKORNBANK has bold ambitions of becoming the digital bank of choice in the region. We look forward to developing innovative financial products together, which will put KBank in a position to tap into the rapidly growing digital economy across the region,” said Patchara Samalapa, President of KASIKORNBANK, in a press statement.
Grab’s deal with KBank is the latest in the company’s aggressive expansion strategy — which it started this year — to be Southeast Asia’s first truly cross-border mobile wallet.
Through partnerships with Maybank, OVO, Moca and Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas, the GrabPay wallet became available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, respectively.
Last month, Grab also inked a major deal with Mastercard to launch virtual and physical prepaid cards, allowing users to make purchases at any POS terminal in the world that accepts Mastercard payments.
“We approach the challenge of cashless payments from a consumer perspective. Users don’t want a separate e-wallet for every type of purchase. By opening up our platform to leading financial institutions, we ensure our users can go beyond the Grab platform and pay for all types of services, from streetside stalls to e-commerce, online services and financial services increasingly as well,” said Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director, Grab Financial, in a press statement.
Just yesterday, Grab clinched US$250 million from South Korean automotive company Hyundai.
The company has been on a fundraising spree this year, raising capital from corporations including Toyota Motor Corporation, Microsoft Corp., Booking Holdings, and Oppenheimer Funds. Grab is said to be targetting a US$3 billion fundraising goal for 2018.
Image Credit: Grab