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Thai retail conglomerate invests $200m in ride-hailing firm

According to a recent report, one of the leading retail conglomerates in Thailand announced recently that it has acquired a significant non-controlling stake in a leading ride-hailing app’s Thai entity for US$200 million.

As part of the strategic partnership, the retail conglomerate is investing in the ride-hailing firm’s local business and not at the holding company level. This investment is, therefore, not part of the transport app’s ongoing Series H round, for which it is seeking to raise US$5 billion.

Of this, the transport app secured US$3 billion last year from a variety of investors.

It was noted that the retail conglomerate’s main objective for investing in the ride-hailing firm is to create a digital platform for Thai people.

The conglomerate’s leadership noted that they would have invested in the ride-hailing firm’s holding company if they were more focused on their return on investment.

As part of the agreement, both firms will collaborate on retail and services front.

The retail conglomerate will help the ride-hailing firm accelerate its growth across multiple verticals including food delivery, parcel delivery and ride-hailing services while the firm will enable the retailer to grow its online traffic.

The executive chairman and CEO of the retail conglomerate noted that since its establishment 70 years ago, the company has built and strengthened its offline platforms across the country so that Thailand’s customers can access one of them in 30 minutes.

However, the capacity of afforded by the ride-hailing app, a regional tech company, will enable the conglomerate to build an online platform and make sure that their services can reach and serve customers wherever they are in 30 minutes.

The head noted that it is important to build two-way services in this era.

The ride-hailing firm set up operations in Thailand back in 2013. Over the past six years, it has aggressively expanded its operations and offered more services in Thailand from ride-hailing to food and parcel delivery, grocery delivery and digital payments.

By partnering with the retail conglomerate, which has the largest footprint of malls and hotels in Thailand, the firm will help their customers and merchants move from the offline world to online via its platform.

The company plans to grow its local services ever further, bringing more Thai-loved merchants and brands onto its platform, and helping cement its position as Thailand’s Everyday Super App, according to the company’s CEO and co-founder.

Prior to the ride-hailing app, the retail conglomerate formed a joint venture firm with a Chinese e-commerce giant to grow its e-commerce business to the regional level.

Meanwhile, the ride-hailing app now faces competition from Indonesia-based rival, which launched its operations including ride-hailing and food delivery in Bangkok last month.

The ride-hailing app currently offers services in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. It claims to have crossed 3 billion rides in January after hitting its 2 billion rides six months ago.

According to Thailand’s 4.0 agenda, the Government will be undertaking actions that synergize basic cultural assets, innovation and technology in order to increase commercial value and ultimately enable Thailand to move forward in becoming one of ASEAN’s “Creative hubs” within the next ten years.

Moreover, the Government seeks to promote and use digital tools and loT as platforms to enhance productivity, quality and innovation in various economic activities within agriculture, industrial, service and education sectors.


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