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Grab opens R&D centre in Bengaluru, say no to start taxi service, yet

business Updated: Mar 16, 2017 14:32 IST

Southeast Asia-based technology and cab-hailing firm Grab said on Wednesday that it has opened an R&D centre in Bengaluru that will house up to 200 engineers.

These engineers will focus on developing new payments technologies for GrabPay, its digital payments platform, that will deepen financial inclusion and increase access to mobile payments across Southeast Asia, Grab said in a statement.

However, the company denied that it will open up any consumer facing business -- essentially an Uber or Ola rival. It is does, the move will open a three-way fight in the cab-hailing space.

Meanwhile, Grab has made two early hires -- Raghuram Trikutam as head of engineering and mobile payments, and Ruchika Sharma as head of human resources, and will add more people in the coming days, it added.

“Bengaluru has established itself as the Silicon Valley of India and one of the global hubs in mobile technology. We are excited to extend our relentless search for global tech talent to this dynamic market,” Grab Vice President Engineering Arul Kumaravel said.

Grab has opened another R&D centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It also announced that it will be adding more than 800 new R&D jobs in the next two years across Grab’s six R&D centres in Beijing, Bengaluru, Jakarta, Vietnam, Singapore and Seattle.

Grab Singapore is its largest R&D centre.

The expansion will support Grab’s rapidly growing multi-modal transport platform and proprietary payments system across Southeast Asia, which includes the launch of three new transport services in the last quarter -- GrabShare, GrabCoach and GrabShuttle, as well as the rollout of GrabRewards, a customer loyalty programme.

Grab currently operates in 35 cities across six countries (Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam) with over 710,000 drivers in its network.

“By investing in our new and existing R&D centres, we are looking to boost our capabilities in innovation and to take our people-focused workplace culture to where the best talents are,” Trikutam said.