GrabTaxi starts R&D centre in Bengaluru

 Singapore-based ride-hailing company GrabTaxi Holdings opened a research and development (R&D) centre in Bengaluru to strengthen payment platforms, especially its mobile wallet GrabPay.

The Bengaluru centre is GrabTaxi’s sixth engineering centre after Singapore, Seattle in the US, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Beijing in China and Jakarta in Indonesia. The company doesn’t have any plan to start consumer-facing operations.

According to GrabTaxi Vice President of Engineering Arul Kumaravel, the company is trying to keep up with the platform requirements, both from a transportation as well as payment perspective.

“The Bengaluru centre is exciting for us because India has gone through a similar phase and seen similar problems. For instance, India is also mobile-first and moving to a cashless economy. Our focus is to hire talent which has experience in building this kind of infrastructure,” he said.

Grab is part of the global alliance formed by India’s Ola, Lyft in the US and China’s Didi Chuxing to fight the dominance of Uber. The fate of the alliance is unclear after Uber sold its China business to Didi Chuxing last year.

The company operates in 39 cities in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam along with its home market Singapore. Grab also raised about $1.4 billion since inception in 2011 from SoftBank, China Investment and Tiger Global Management.

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