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Grab raises USD856 million to grow financial services operations

Grab has secured a pair of investments totalling USD856 million to bolster the firm’s development of its digital payments and financial services.

USD706 million of the funding round has been contributed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), according to a report by PhocusWire; MUFG is said to have entered an alliance with Grab to “co-develop next-generation bespoke financial services in Southeast Asia.”

Hironori Kamezawa, Deputy President, COO and Chief Digital Transformation Officer, MUFG, said “We are excited to be able to provide customers with next-generation financial services by combining Grab's advanced technologies and data management expertise with our financial knowledge and know-how.”

MUFG will be bestowed “First Choice Bank” status as part of the deal, meaning that MUFG will be the default option for financial services on the platform.

Ming Maa, President, Grab, said “Together with MUFG, we look forward to playing a key role in driving financial inclusion in Southeast Asia and offering greater and affordable access to financial products and services to millions of customers across the region.”

The funding contributed by MUFG will be allocated to the development of lending, insurance and wealth management solutions for Grab’s users, driver-partners and merchant-partners.

Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director, Grab Financial Group, has said that the partnership “allows us to jointly create innovative financial services such as payments and micro-financing to meet the needs of underbanked customer segments in Southeast Asia.”

A further USD150 million will be contributed by TIS INTEC Group to co-develop payment technologies, according to the article, such as the cashless payment solution GrabPay.

Ming Maa has commented that digital payments in the region are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst those in the “largely mobile yet underbanked population.”

“We need to create better experiences to pay for daily transactions and are excited to have TIS as a strategic technology partner to further develop a secure digital payment infrastructure in the region,” said Ma.

Since its launch in 2012, Grab has been downloaded on more than 185 million mobile devices.