Grab gambles US$700m for rental scheme expansion

By the fourth quarter of 2018, Grab hopes to become the "biggest rental car fleet".

Ride-sharing unicorn Grab has confirmed it will be spending US$700m for the expansion of its fleet. The company on Friday, October 20 announced in Singapore its bid to become the "biggest rental car fleet" by the fourth quarter of 2018 through this expansion.

Grab moves to expand it rental cars by taking up to US$700m in debt facilities from global and regional banks. The record-high amount will be used to help Grab multiply its network of drivers in countries where car ownership is deemed low.

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Specifically, the money will be used to buy more cars and have them leased by their drivers. Grab currently has 1.8 million drivers across Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, the company has forged a partnership with SMRT to give it access to the company's taxi and private car fleet management facilities. At the moment, SMRT has 3,300 operating taxis, plus partner Strides private-hire cars.

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The ride-hailing startup also notes it is gunning to bring the rental scheme in Indonesia, which is its biggest market. However, there are no details yet as to how the entire scheme works.

Grab claims it has 72 per cent of market share in private vehicle-hailing and 95 per cent in third-party taxi-booking.