Honda invests in Grab taxi
grab taxi logo Grab

Japanese auto giant Honda Motor is investing an undisclosed amount in ride hailing service Grab, the Southeast Asian company said on Monday.

Grab, the biggest Uber rival Southeast Asia, said the partnership with the Japanese auto major will help drive technology development and driver education programmes. Grab had raised $750 million from SoftBank in September in a deal that valued the company at $3 billion.

The latest funding will boost Grab's expansion in the motorbike-hailing service, the company said. Honda will also focus on helping Grab in areas like as telematics and safety equipment, a Grab official told Techcrunch.

Grab provides taxi and motorbike-hailing and car-pooling across Southeast Asia. The service is present in 34 cities in six countries in the region and has a pool of more than 500,000 drivers.

"We are in the planning stages on exactly what a full partnership will look like, and there are many different prongs of that. One prong would obviously include selling Honda motorbikes within the region," said president Ming Maa, according to Reuters.

"We would welcome expanding the partnership to four-wheeled (vehicles)," added Maa, a former SoftBank executive who joined Grab as president in October.

Grab, which has over 24 million app downloads, is facing rough competition in Indonesia from local player Go-Jek.

Auto majors such as Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors have made significant investments in ride hailing companies in recent times as they prepare for a shift away from individual car ownership in future.

Other major investors in Grab include China Investment Corp, Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Singapore state wealth fund Temasek Holdings.