Central Group invests US$200 million in Grab Thailand

Central Group is investing 6 billion baht and acquire a significant non-controlling stake in in Grab Thailand to strengthen its online-to-offline business getting ready for new chapter of retail, transport and tourism.

“The investment of over US$200 million between Grab and Central is the first joint-venture of Grab in the region which is expected to create a great opportunity in the future,” said Anthony Tan, chief executive and co-founder of Grab.

Thailand is an important market for Grab, with over 800 employees locally and serving over a quarter of a million microentrepreneurs, including drivers and merchants.

Grab is also entering the online travel business by partnering with Agoda and Booking.com, from flight bookings to hotels to activities during travel, all connected seamlessly. It will use its ride-hailing service for Central properties — hotels, resorts and department stores — to offer special privileges.

In Southeast Asia, Grab has over 8.5 million microentrepreneurs, more than 2,000 engineers and seven R&D centres. Grab has expanded from ride hailing to food delivery, grocery and electronic payment

Central Group Executive Chairman and CEO, Tos Chirathivat said Central invests and acquires a significant non-controlling stake in Grab Thailand. Grab is a fast growing online-to-offline (O2O) platform which has scaled up impressively in Southeast Asia. Grab, like Central Group, is now an essential part of everyday life for many Thai people. As part of the agreement, the companies will collaborate across the areas of transport, food & grocery delivery, logistics and more, to deliver more value to Central and Grab’s customers, partners, merchants and tenants.

Central Group President, Yol Phokasub added, “This alliance will help enlarge Central Group Economy. Central is focused on becoming the leading digital-lifestyle platform in Thailand, part of our New Central, New Economy vision. We will continue stepping up our digital push by partnering with a number of leaders in this space. This partnership with Grab is a pivotal next step to achieve our key goal of omnichannel customer-centric platform covering all lifestyle needs of omnipresent customers. We will work together to create the unique ‘Central-Experience’ by fully leveraging our rich network and strengths.”

Tarin Thaniyavarn, country head of Grab Thailand, said the company in 2018 reached 100,000 rides a day locally and 3 million meal deliveries on the year.

The collaboration with Central will impact the local economy, increasing ride traffic for its driver partners and choices for customers. With Grab covering 16 provinces and Central in 76, Grab will expand food delivery outside Bangkok such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai.

Grab crossed its 3 billion rides milestone this month, after hitting its 2 billion mark just six months ago. The Grab app has been downloaded on over 130 million mobile devices, giving passengers access to over 8.5 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food and package delivery services.