Uber sells Southeast Asia business to ride-hailing rival Grab

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That means commuters will still be able to use the separate apps of Uber and Grab for two more weeks.

Grab (founded in 2012) is now present in 195 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia) and offers the widest range of on-demand transport services including private cars, motorbikes, taxis, and carpooling services, in addition to food and package delivery services. Grab is in the process of transferring or "onboarding" your data, so if you're feeling antsy you can still sign up as a Grab driver yourself.

Uber declined to comment and Grab, which has an estimated valuation of about US$6 billion (RM23.5 billion), declined to comment. Only those who have been suspended or removed from Grab previously will not be allowed to re-register.

A ComfortDelgro taxi passes Uber and Grab offices in Singapore March 26, 2018.

The deal, which represents the largest acquisition by a Southeast Asian firm, will net Uber a 27.5 percent stake in the Singapore-based Grab and will enable Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to join Grab's board of directors. In China, Uber handed over its business to Didi in exchange for 20 per cent ownership.

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"Today's acquisition marks the beginning of a new era", said Anthony Tan, Grab's chief executive. Financial details were not revealed. It sold off its China business to a competitor and partner, Didi Chuxing, taking a stake in Didi.

Grab said it plans to expand its food delivery business to Singapore and Malaysia after integrating it with Uber Eats. With the combined business, Grab will be able to drive towards becoming a key online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platform in Southeast Asia. For instance, Grab let passengers text drivers via a chat feature within the app with in-built automated translation feature.

Uber's sale in Southeast Asia, where Grab claims 5 million daily users, follows several strategic deals in competitive global markets.

Grab has been seeking to dominate the regional market for vehicle and motorbike hailing and has expanded into other areas, recently announcing plans to partner with a Japanese credit card company to provide credit to millions of people without bank accounts.

Uber, which is preparing for a potential initial public offering in 2019, lost US$4.5 billion previous year and has faced fierce competition at home and in Asia, as well as a regulatory crackdown in Europe.