February 2, 2017 / 4:38 AM / 9 months ago

Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab to invest $700 million in Indonesia

Commuters pass Grab transport booking service app advertisements at a train station in Singapore February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab on Thursday said it will invest $700 million to expand in Indonesia over the next four years, marking its biggest-ever investment in any country.

Grab’s push in what has become its largest market is set to intensify the competition among ride-hailing firms in Indonesia. Grab’s rivals in the country include U.S. firm Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and home-grown app Go-Jek.

Grab will open a research and development (R&D) center, start a new investment fund and develop its payment platform in Indonesia. It had also hired Indonesia’s former national police chief to oversee corporate governance.

Grab said its R&D center in Jakarta will develop localized solutions such as algorithms to address the road regulations in the Indonesian capital. It will also invest up to $100 million in early-stage start-ups or aspiring “technopreneurs”.

Grab, which was co-founded by Harvard Business School graduate Anthony Tan, raised $750 million in a funding round last September, more than a month after its Indonesian rival, Go-Jek, received $550 million from investors including KKR and Warburg Pincus.

Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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