Samsung has signed a multi-year memorandum of understanding with Singapore-based Grab covering joint development of customized solutions for the ride hailing industry.
Grab says it operates the largest transportation network in Southeast Asia with about 2.3 million drivers on its platform serving over 3.5 million rides each day. The company also states that its Grab app has been downloaded onto over 77 million mobile devices.
In August 2017, the company officially entered the e-payment space with the inclusion of peer-to-peer fund transfer feature on its popular app. The company said it intends to bring more than 1,000 merchants onto its GrabPay platform.
The MOU between the two companies covers a wide range of initiatives such as joint development of customized solutions for the ride-hailing industry, including micro-financing schemes for Grab’s over 2.3 million driver-partners, improved customer booking and in-car experiences, and new mobility solutions.
The two companies will also work together to expand into Southeast Asia’s fragmented mobile payments ecosystem and provide a mobile payments solution that will serve the needs of consumers in Southeast Asia.
“Southeast Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing emerging markets, yet many in the smaller towns and cities do not have easy access to the growing digital economy. Mobile technology can bridge the infrastructural divide and make economic growth more inclusive,” Grab group CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said.
The first phase of the partnership will be a micro-financing program targeted at Grab drivers who wish to upgrade their smartphones as part of Grab’s Better 365 Program. The initiative was first piloted in Myanmar in Q4 2017, where only 30% of adults have access to formal financial services, and will soon be rolled out across the region.
Currently, drivers in Myanmar who sign up with Grab can purchase and own Samsung devices and get a micro-loan from CB Bank, one of Myanmar’s largest banks and Grab’s local banking partner, to finance the device. The company claims that more than 1,400 drivers in Myanmar have taken up the offer during the initial three months of the pilot.
Samsung devices will become part of the technologies used by Grab staff at GrabKiosks and GrabBooths – where traveling individuals and concierge services (at hotels and malls) can book a Grab ride.
“Through this collaboration, we hope to explore how we can work together to tap into the massive growth opportunity of Southeast Asia’s digital economy,” commented Sangchul Lee, president and CEO for Samsung Electronics Southeast Asia and Oceania.
First published in Fintech Innovation