Grab, the ride-hailing app that is a direct competitor to Uber in Southeast Asia, announced it is opening two new research and development centers and is gearing up to hire 800 developers.
According to a report in Reuters, the new hires will happen over the next two years. The R&D centers will be located in Bengaluru and Ho Chi Minh City. The company already has R&D centers in Seattle, Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore. Grab is aiming to benefit from the expected growth in South and Southeast Asia, noted the report. “Southeast Asia is developing at a breakneck pace,” Grab cofounder Tan Hooi Ling said in a statement to Reuters.
The report noted the R&D centers will be focused on machine learning, predictive data analytics, technology focused on mobile and enhancing the user experience. The Bengaluru R&R center will be tasked with developing payment technologies for its digital payment platform GrabPay. The Ho Chi Minh City center will be tasked with improving the customer experience, noted the report. Separately Grab said it will move its office to a close to 100,000-square-foot location in Singapore’s Central Business District. Currently its office is housed in a 4,500-square-foot space, noted the report.
In July, TechCrunch reported Grab was in talks to raise a new round of funding that would value the company at around $2.3 billion. Last year, when the company raised $350 million in a Series E round of funding that included an investment from Didi Chuxing it was valued at between $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion. Grab has been negotiating the funding for “a number of months,” according to TechCrunch, but the deal has not yet closed and is waiting on “secondary share sales from existing backers,” which could ultimately lower the company’s total valuation number.