Grab, the ride hailing app catering to the Southeast Asian market, has inked a deal to acquire Kudo, the Indonesian online payment startup.
According to a report in Reuters, the acquisition of Kudo marks the first investment under Grab’s plan to invest $700 million in the Indonesian market. Grad did not say what price it paid for Kudo, reported Reuters, noting that in February Reuters reported Grab was in talks to buy Kudo for more than $100 million.
Grab is Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia. It’s planning on investing $700 million in Indonesia over the course of a four-year period. Kudo, which went live in 2014, helps consumers who don’t have bank accounts and those located in small towns and cities make payments online via agents. The two plan to look at different types of financial services that Kudo could offer such as insurance and consumer loans. Once the deal is closed, Kudo’s team and its platform will be integrated with Grab’s GrabPay online payment service.
In March Grab announced it is opening two new research and development centers and 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, and 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.