Alibaba President Jack Ma has shown his interest in investing in Uber’s rival Grab, a Southeast Asia haulage company. It is said that he might be considering joining $1.4 billion funding round for Grab which will be led by SoftBank, a company that has many dots joined to Alibaba.
Alibaba’s key executives might hold meetings with Grab over a potential investment that could help Alipay, the mobile payment service run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, integrated into the Grab app. It seems Alibaba is eager to maintain a closer relationship with Grab’s ‘GrabPay’ payment platform as well.
The Singapore based haulage’s recent funding was a $750 million Series F at a valuation of $3 billion in September 2006. The company has over 45 million downloads, over 900,000 drivers and 2.5 million daily rides across seven countries in the current time.
Though the smoke is not cleared yet whether an investment would be made by Alibaba or Ant Financial, while both have busy brokering deals to get an early foothold in Southeast Asia’s growing internet space.
Alibaba’s interest in Grab implies that it and Tencent are rooting for new rivalries in Southeast Asia, a region where the internet economy is tipped to surge to $200 billion per year.
The competition is vivid in India, where Tencent has backed Flipkart, arch rival of Amazon whereas, Alibaba has picked payment and e-commerce firm Paytm as its proxy in the country.