Last week, we reported that Grab might be looking to open a new R&D center in India, taking the cue from its interest in hiring engineers based out of the nation. Turns out, the ride-hailing giant was not just planning, it has made it happen.
Today, Grab has announced the opening of two new R&D centers in Bangalore, India and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This move expands its global R&D capabilities, with the number of centers rising from three to six in the last quarter. Though the company clarified it will not expand into India, this will just enable them to bring skilled people on board to up its game in Southeast Asia against Uber.
Grab says this expansion will facilitate the rapid growth of its multi-modal transport platform and proprietary payments system across the region, which includes the unveiling of three new transport services in the last quarter – GrabShare, GrabCoach and GrabShuttle, and also the launch of a customer loyalty program, GrabRewards.
Grab, through the model of distributed engineering teams, accesses specific sets of expertise in each of the centers, such as predictive data analytics, machine learning, mobile-first technology, and consumer-focused user experience.
It is also seeking to augment its team as it plans to add 800 new R&D jobs in the next two years across the six R&D centers – Beijing, Bangalore, Jakarta, Vietnam, Singapore, and Seattle. Tan Hooi Ling, Co-founder, Grab, said,
We welcome talented engineers looking to be a part of a customer-focused company and apply top-tier skills to complex, real-world issues. Most importantly, Grab believes in leveraging technology to improve people’s lives; our team’s talents are used to develop impactful solutions that enable people across Southeast Asia to benefit from the digital economy every day.
In Bangalore, the center will be situated in Indira Nagar and will witness the company adding a team of up to 200 talented engineers. The major focus will be on developing new payments technologies for its digital payments platform, GrabPay. It has already appointed the Head of Engineering, Mobile Payments and the Head of Human Resources. It also plans to host a two-day recruitment event on March 24-25.
While, the Vietnam center, will be located in Ho Chi Minh City, will begin operating with a staff of 25 engineers. The team will leverage their country-specific expertise to create in-app user experiences specifically for users in Vietnam and enhance the user experience.
The cab aggregator’s largest R&D center is in Singapore, and will continue to work on app development based on local market research and introduce new services and features that improve the user experience.
Grab has its presence in 39 cities across 6 countries, with more than 710,000 drivers in its network and over 36 million mobile app downloads. It claims to have 95% market share of third-party taxi-hailing apps and more than 50% market share in private cars in the markets in which it offers its services.