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Grab to double Singapore Staff and improve its financial services

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Grab, which became the biggest ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia after acquiring Uber’s business in the region, plans to increase its Singapore employees to 3,000 from current 1,500 staff. According to Bloomberg, Grab will expand its Singapore workforce when it moves into the new headquarters in 2020.

Having signed an 11-year lease agreement for new offices being developed by Ascendas Real Estate, Grab has an option to renew the lease after every five years subsequently. The Singapore-bases startup plans to occupy the entire 42,310 square meters (floor area) building which cost S$181.2 million (US$133.7 million), according to Channel News Asia.

Grab Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan said the new offices will allow Grab to house its “growing team of up to 3,000 Grabbers” during a ceremony of Friday. This move is “an affirmation of our long-term investment in Singapore”

Grab financial services have been a major setback

The $16 billion-valued ride-hailing Grab is in talks with PayPal and Alibaba’s Ant Financial to improve its financial services, reports TechCrunch.

Grab was tipped to enjoy wide monopoly in Southeast Asia after it forced Uber Technologies Inc out of business in the region last year. However, this perception has since been wrong. Grab is faced with a fierce challenged from Indonesian-based Go-Jek – a $10 billion ride-hailing firm backed by Tencent, Google and many others. Part of Go-Jek’s business strategy eating into Grab’s fortune is partnership with local financial service firms to offer consumers incentives and ease of payments.

In response to this marketing strategy, Grab is prioritizing revamping its financial services to promote the use of its services among riders in the region, where digital spending is estimated to grow 300 percent by 2025.

This move is expected to spin out GrabPay service (Grab Financial Services) from the parent company to operate independently, sort for new allies and improve payments to Grab. The ride-hailing giant is in talks with Ant Financial and PayPal over potential strategic investments, two sources told TechCruch.

The move comes shortly after Grab secured $4.5 billion from investors which include $1 billion from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The funding was aimed at pushing Grab into becoming one-stop shop for on-demand services in Southeast Asia and was raised after Grab had acquired Uber’s business in the region.

Seven-year-old Grab, which currently has around 6,000 employees globally, is expected to add 1,000 technology jobs into its research and development center in Jakarta, Singapore, Seattle, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing and Bangalore. According to Grab CEO Tan, the jobs will include engineers, artificial intelligence researchers, and data scientists.

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