Kasikorn bank of Thailand has invested $50 million in Singapore’s Grab, thereby forming a partnership which will help to launch the GrabPay electronic wallet in its sixth Southeast Asian market in the year 2019.
The fourth largest bank of Thailand said that the tie-up would allows it to make use of Grab’s data on the merchants and drivers for formulating loan products and minimise non performing loans.
“Our co-branded mobile wallet and strategic investment in Grab enables us to bring Grab’s scale to our merchant and consumer network in Thailand,” Kasikornbank President Patchara Samalapa said in a statement.
GrabPay is one aspect of Grab’s strategy to transform into a technology firm from being purely a ride-hailing business – a business not yet fully regulated in Thailand. The service is accessible via Grab’s smartphone application, and in Thailand will be branded “GrabPay by KBank”.
Patchara said that Grab’s app will be integrated with Kasikornbank’s K PLUS app, and that the bank will eventually provide loans via apps.
“This also advances our ambition to build an Everyday Super App to serve the daily needs of our consumers,” Grab Thailand chief Tarin Thaniyavarn said in the statement.
GrabPay by KBank will compete with TrueMoney from True Corporation as well as Rabbit Line Pay from messaging application LINE – owned by South Korea’s Naver- offered in conjunction with local telecommunications firm Advanced Info Service (AIS) and mass transit firm BTS Group Holdings.
Kasikornbank is the latest financial institution to form a partnership with Grab as the tech firm expands in the sector, with other partners including Malayan Banking and Mastercard.
The investment, while relatively small, is the first from Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.
This is a part of funding round wherein Grab has raised nearly $2.7 billion from various investors like Booking Holdings, Microsoft, Toyota Motor and Hyundai, as well as financial institutions including Oppenheimer Funds, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and Citi Ventures.
Hyundai has also announced an investment of $250 million in Grab, its largest ever investment in the auto tech firm.