• A Grab driver showcases using a Samsung device to start the Grab ride-hailing application. (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung partners with Grab for growing ride-hailing market in SE Asia

Tech February 03, 2018 11:08

By The Korea Herald/ANN

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Samsung Electronics is gearing up for its entry into the car infotainment market by tapping into Southeast Asia’s largest on-demand transportation platform, the company announced Friday.

Samsung signed a memorandum of understanding with Grab, a leading car sharing and mobile payment operator based in Singapore known as the Southeast Asian version of Uber, to drive digital inclusion in the region, it said. 

Under the memorandum, the South Korean tech titan will supply smartphone and tablet PCs for Grab drivers, which are equipped with Knox, the company’s mobile security solution to ensure information security of Grab’s devices by reducing downtime and maintenance costs. 

Grab cars with Samsung tablet PCs installed will be able to provide customers the chance to view infotainment content, such as information about sightseeing, restaurants and videos. 

Grab is the largest ride-hailing platform business in Southeast Asia, operating in 186 cities in eight countries including Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Registered Grab drivers are around 2.3 million across the region, while the Grab application is being used on more than 77 million mobile devices. 

The ride-hailing industry is one of the fastest growing internet services sectors and is expected to be a $25 billion market by 2022 in this region. 

The latest partnership seems to be just the beginning of Samsung‘s $300 million bet on the business of future autonomous driving. As unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Samsung is preparing with its subsidiary Harman to commercialize vehicle infotainment technologies powered by artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. 

Samsung and Grab will work together to provide improved income opportunities by offering micro-financing schemes through Samsung smartphones, better customer booking and in-car experiences and other new mobility solutions. 

The micro-financing program, part of Grab’s better 365 program, will reduce the cost of purchasing a smartphone and also lower ongoing maintenance costs with superior software and security features. 

This program was piloted in Myanmar, where only 30 percent of adults have access to formal financial services, in the fourth quarter of last year. Currently, around 1,400 drivers in Myanmar who sign up with Grab can purchase and own Samsung devices and get a micro-loan from CB Bank, one of Myanmar’s largest banks and Grab’s local banking partner, to finance the device. 

The two companies will further work together to expand into Southeast Asia’s fragmented mobile payments ecosystem and provide a mobile payments solution that will serve the needs of consumers in Southeast Asia, Samsung said. 

“Southeast Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing emerging markets, yet many in the smaller towns and cities do not have easy access to the growing digital economy,” said Grab CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan. 

“Samsung is one of the world’s most innovative technology companies, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to empower more people in Southeast Asia to improve their livelihoods and provide more digital services for everyone on the Grab platform.”

Grab will introduce more GrabKiosks and GrabBooths in busy consumer hubs such as shopping malls, hotels and airports, in partnership with Samsung. The facilities will feature Samsung devices with the Grab enterprise app pre-installed, allowing individuals and concierge services to book a Grab ride for themselves or others, even when they do not have data connectivity.

The Samsung devices at GrabKiosks and GrabBooths in Indonesia and Myanmar have been installed with Samsung’s Knox mobile security software,

The kiosks and booths will be rolled out in Vietnam and Singapore within the first quarter of this year, and other countries in Southeast Asia later in the year.

“We believe in the Internet of Things; the various benefits a more digitally connected world brings, and we are excited to be partnering with Grab to provide consumers within the region an enhanced array of digital solutions for their everyday needs,” said Lee Sang-chul, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Southeast Asia & Oceania. “Through this collaboration, we hope to explore how we can work together to tap into the massive growth opportunity of Southeast Asia’s digital economy.”