The Japanese automobile manufacturer Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has reportedly closed a partnership deal with the Southeast Asian service-hailing Grab Taxi Holdings Pte Ltd. Honda joins the caravan of automobile companies that are collaborating with ride-sharing firms.
This is the second deal that Honda made that involves a tie-up with a company with the same concept Grab introduced to Southeast Asia. The Automobile giant has been recently closing deals with Tokyo Century Corp., last two weeks to be specific, as the company branches out from the private ownership of vehicle market. Honda’s investment was an undisclosed sum; the aim of the partnership is to boost Grab’s capital so it can manage to fend off Uber Technologies Inc. growing grasp in Southern Asia.
As part of Honda’s investment, autonomous Honda vehicles can hit the road as part of Grab’s lineup, while it is still unreported if the company will deploy self-driving cars as part of the mobility service. The Southeast Asian ride-hailing Grab has been established around 2012 and focused as a taxi-booking app. As of today, the company’s presence has been expanded to six countries across the region.
Recently, Grab has dominated the Southeast Asian ride-sharing service over taking a close competition the Uber Technologies Inc. In September, Softbank, the owner of U.S. carrier Sprint Corp. led the $750 million series funding round in Grab that valued the company that Anthony Tan co-founded at $3 billion, while Tokyo Century participated in the extended round of the series, according to Grab.
According to the company’s current president Ming Maa, the company is currently in its planning stages on exactly what a full partnership will look like, and that there are many different prongs of that, and one prong would obviously include selling Honda motorbikes within the region. As a final note, Maa said that the company is welcome to expanding the partnership with four-wheeled vehicles. Ming Maa joined the Grab last October as part of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, an investor in the company.
Grabs Rivals and Possible Threats
Other automobile makers such Volkswagen created a new company to fight Uber in the digital auto services. The new competitor will be named Moia and will be based in Berlin which the company sees as a good starting point, and putting it inches closer to Volkswagen’s corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg.
On the other hand, Uber has released last week an expansion to its service called UberMotor service to the people of Indonesia specifically in the city of Yogyakarta. According to regional manager for Latin America Andrew Macdonald, the company’s UberMotor is much bigger part of their business in Indonesia compared to the rest of the world. To add, Macdonald also said that they’ve been always focused on dominating the Southeast Asian market, but China is way too expensive for them and even to their competitors.
Honda is seen as the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, Grab eyes to seek a better future of partnership to enhance their GrabBike service. President Maa also noted that the partnership could possibly influence Honda’s vehicle designs to adapt to ride-sharing and ends saying that; “anything is possible.”
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