Grab is entering India, though not the way some of us had expected.
The Southeast Asian ride-hailing service said on Wednesday it’s opening two new R&D centers, one in Bangalore, India, and the other one in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam as the company further ramps up its engineering efforts.
The addition of these two centres brings its engineering offices globally to six; it has others in Jakarta, Beijing, Singapore, and Seattle.
Grab noted that the new facilities will result in the creation of 800 new jobs too.
The added boost of engineers from India and Vietnam will help with the company’s efforts to develop local features, as it works to fend off Uber in Southeast Asia.
The new engineers will also work on the company’s GrabPay cashless wallet payment platform, targeting the emerging markets it’s in in the region.
Grab started seeking engineers and developers in India several weeks ago. It’s is hosting a “special event” in the country on March 24, presumably to celebrate the launch.
Will we see Grab in India one day?
India is a lucrative market for transportation services. Valued at $10 billion by several estimates, the country already has multiple cab services fighting for market dominance.
Although Uber entered India five years ago, the company is still trailing behind the local giant Ola. Both the companies have thrown enticing offers to drivers in the country to lure them to their respective networks, and are increasingly looking at right-sizing their business models to boost revenue.
Meanwhile, India’s largest industrial house, RIL is also looking at offering a cab service in India. According to several cab drivers, the company recently approached them for its upcoming cab service dubbed Jio Cabs.
Grab, which is valued at $3 billion, claims to have 36 million downloads and it operates as many as 1.5 million bookings every day. It currently offers its cab services in six Southeast Asian countries: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, with over 710,000 registered drivers on its network.