SINGAPORE -- Grab, Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailing company, plans to invest $100 million in Myanmar over the next three years as it expands regionally against main rival Uber from the U.S.
The company plans to work with local governments to launch ride-hailing services beyond Yangon, Myanmar's commercial capital, where it rolled out services in March. It is adding drivers and riders to a 24/7 call center, and plans to make GrabPay available soon to passengers
"Grab in Yangon has taken off at an incredible pace," said Anthony Tan, Grab's co-founder and CEO. "This is already one of our fastest-growing markets, and we are very excited to deepen our commitment to Myanmar."
Among the transport solutions it is marketing, Grab for Work enables companies to manage digitally the local and regional transport expenses of employees. According to Grab, over 8,000 regional companies already use the product.
Both Grab and Uber have seen rapid expansion in Southeast Asia, and have benefited from the proliferation of smartphones and a growing middle class.
Grab said last month that it will receive $2.5 billion from the largest single financing round seen in Southeast Asia. Up to $2 billion will come from Japan's SoftBank Group and China's ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing, both of which are existing shareholders. In December, Honda Motor also invested to expand Grab's motorbike-hailing operations in Southeast Asia.
Uber is hanging on in the region despite sudden management changes and scandals. It launched in Yangon in mid-May, and is looking to tie up with Yangon Bus Service, a metropolitan network. It is also in talks with ComfortDelGro, a Singaporean transport group that wants access to its fleet management and booking software in a strategic partnership.
Grab operates in 87 cities across seven countries, including Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. It claims to have 95% of third-party taxi-hailing services in Southeast Asia, with more than 55 million app downloads and over 1.2 million drivers. According to TNS, a market research company, Grab is the market leader in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.