SoftBank invests $250 million in GrabTaxi cab-dispatch service

The investment in the Southeast Asian cab app comes amid SoftBank's push into India

Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank has invested US$250 million in GrabTaxi, a taxi-booking app in operation in Southeast Asia, as it believes the service has significant growth potential.

SoftBank becomes the largest investor in the Singapore-based service, which has users in 17 cities in the region.

Also known as MyTeksi, the same GrabTaxi app can be used to hail the nearest cab in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. It provides estimated fares, trackable taxi rides and details about drivers such as photos and vehicle registration numbers.

The startup began business two years ago after being runner-up in a 2011 business plan contest organized by Harvard Business School. It has since expanded to become the largest taxi booking app in Southeast Asia, according to SoftBank and GrabTaxi.

The investment also bolsters SoftBank's presence in Asia outside Japan along with its plan to invest $10 billion in India's Internet market.

"GrabTaxi is the largest and most widely used mobile taxi booking app in Southeast Asia and we believe it has great potential for further growth," a SoftBank spokesman in Tokyo said in an email.

"With this investment we'll also be able to further build on our presence of Internet companies in the region, and will aim to leverage synergies."

GrabTaxi has over 60,000 registered taxi drivers, 2.5 million app downloads and 500,000 active users who use the service at least once a month, the spokesman said, adding that SoftBank will work with GrabTaxi to accelerate its growth.

Cheryl Goh, a spokeswoman for GrabTaxi, said the company will use the investment to fund programs to get more drivers to use the service, as well as on marketing campaigns and staffing so that it can compete against global players.

"Our main competitor is in fact street hailing," she wrote in an email. "We are the largest in the region in terms of bookings, taxi driver network, passenger network and usage, and we have a lead because we probably understand the landscape better."

The move comes as car-sharing service Uber, which also operates in Southeast Asia, has been struggling with regional governments. It has faced pressure from Thai authorities for apparently operating illegally in Thailand, according to local news reports.

Uber has also come under scrutiny from Vietnam's government. In a blog post on Tuesday, Uber said it would meet with Vietnam's transport minister to discuss its business.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetSoftbankInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?