Singapore-based Southeast Asian ride-hailing major Grab has acquired payment company iKaaz for an undisclosed amount. With this acquisition, the Softbank-backed company plans to expand its digital payments platform GrabPay.
Following the acquisition iKaaz team will join Grab’s research and development unit in Bengaluru. iKaaz offers mobile payments platform for enterprises in emerging markets to enable them to extend cashless transactions to their customers.
It integrates a range of payment methods as such as NFC, QR-code, audio-based payments, bill payments, online payments among others. Besides India, the company also has a presence in African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya.
Importantly, Grab started working on a payment platform GrabPay in July 2016. It had opened R&D center in Bengaluru for the same purpose. The company believes that offering digital payment services can give it an upper hand in Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing market.
Grab, which does business in 132 cities across seven countries, has more than 63 million app downloads and over 1.8 million drivers. According to TNS, a market research company, Grab is the market leader in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Reuters report mentions that flexibility and scalability of iKaaz’s technology made it ideally suitable for Southeast Asia’s diverse payments landscape and large unbanked population.
Southeast Asia’s top ride-hailing company claims that it has a current market share of 95 percent in third-party taxi-hailing and 72 percent in private vehicle hailing of the Southeast Asian market and aims to have the region’s largest car rental fleet by October 2018.
Of late, Grab has been making acquisitions and foraying into new services and using technology to address transportation and payments. Earlier in April 2017, it acquired Indonesian startup Kudo.