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Grab partners KBank to tap into Thailand’s mobile payment market

KBank makes $50 million investment into Grab.

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Grab partners KBank to tap into Thailand’s mobile payment market

Southeast Asian tech unicorn Grab is at it recently.

The Singapore-based company announced today yet another strategic tie-up slash investments with Thailand’s KASIKORNBANK (KBank), right on the heels of a deal with South Korean Hyundai the two companies articulated yesterday.

Grab and KBank will be launching a co-branded mobile wallet ‘GrabPay by KBank’ in Thailand early next year, marking Grab’s first foray into the Thai mobile payment space. The move also makes Grab the first company to launch e-money-licensed payments services across all ASEAN-6 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

Through the tie-up, KBank’s “K PLUS” app and the Grab app will be integrated and users can benefit from services offered by both Grab and KBank in a seamless fashion.

Grab users in Thailand will be able to make a range of transactions on the app, such as transferring of funds, purchasing products/services online, paying for transport and delivery services, in addition to making QR-code payment at more than 3 million brick-and-mortar merchants across Thailand, making it more convenient to adopt the cashless transactions lifestyle.

This could in turn lead drive the growth in Grab’s business especially when considering that 68% of all transactions in Thailand are still done primarily by cash, according to the Bank of Thailand.

Moreover, traditional finance products like loans will be made available for users at generally more affordable rates when compared to the traditional banks.

Reuben Lai, Grab Financial’s senior managing director, claims at a press conference that Grab has attracted leading players in the financial services industry and driven exponential growth for its business by opening up its platform and working with others including KBank, reaffirming the company’s open platform strategy as a catalyst for its growth.

Grab announced its open platform strategy in July as part of the company’s vision to become Southeast Asia’s “everyday app”.

This collaboration with KBank is one of Grab’s slew of announcements recently – after Mastercard, Booking.com, Microsoft and Hyundai, all of which come at a time when arch-rival Go-Jek kickstarts its campaign in Singapore.

The investment is also part of Grab’s ongoing Series H round targetting to raise US$3 billion. Other finance and strategic investors participated in the round include SoftBank, China’s Ping’an Capital, Microsoft, Booking.com, Toyota, as well as Hyundai. KBank will invest US$50 million into Grab.

Fragmented ASEAN market is hard to navigate and there could be high costs involved when regulations change in different countries. Grab’s first-mover advantage as the first regional player could put the company in a better position when it comes to competition.

Editor: Ben Jiang