comscore Uber-rival Grab to set up R&D center in Bangalore, hire 200 engineers

Uber-rival Grab to set up R&D center in Bangalore, hire 200 engineers

However, Grab has no intentions of launching commercial operations in India.


Singapore-based Grab, rival to Uber in many Southeast Asian markets, is now looking to India for bolstering its backend team. The company has announced opening a R&D center in Bangalore that will house 200 engineers. The main objective of the R&D centers will be to develop new payments technologies for the company s GrabPay digital payments platform. The company, however, has categorically turned down speculations of entering India s booming taxi space, estimated to be worth $7 billion by 2020. Also Read - "Mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time" in India last year: PM Modi

Also Read - How to book your next Uber ride via WhatsApp

Starting off its India foray, Grab has already made two key hires, Raghuram Trikutam, the Head of Engineering, Mobile Payments and Ruchika Sharma, Head of Human Resources. The company will be conducting hiring drives on March 24 and March 25 in Bangalore. Also Read - PM Modi launches e-RUPI digital payment solution: What is it? Is it like Bitcoin? and more questions answered

By investing in our new and existing R&D centers, we are looking to boost our capabilities in innovation and to take our people-focused workplace culture to where the best talents are. Southeast Asia is developing at a rapid pace and we have an unprecedented opportunity to use technology to shape cities, improve people s lives and make a real difference, says Raghuram Trikutam.

Besides India, Grab has also announced opening a new R&D center in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Our Ho Chi Minh City engineers will tap into their local expertise to create in-app user experiences which are tailored to our users in Vietnam as well as enhance the experience of our users across the region, says the company in a release.

Grab s expansion of its engineering footprint to India comes as part of the company s ambitious plans to scale up its proprietary digital payments solutions. Until June 2016, the company had stricter cash-only operations but following the growing competition from the likes of Uber the company moved to digital payments solutions. Back in July last year, the company introduced GrabPay wallet, something similar to what Ola Cabs offers with Ola Money.

The common pain points for both India and Southeast Asian countries is the lack of cashless solutions. While India has taken giant leap towards building a cashless economy, a similar transition is happening in other markets. Our R&D center in India will help improve our digital payment solutions, Arul Kumaravel, VP of Engineering at Grab told BGR India.

Grab is currently operating in as many as six Southeast Asian markets including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. It claims to have over 700,000 drivers onboard. According to the company, its mobile apps have been downloaded as many as 36 million times. The company faces a big competition from Uber in the region which is believed to be going to strong in last few months. ALSO READ: Tamil Nadu government to soon come up with new draft rules for Uber, Ola cabs

While Uber and Ola can breathe of sigh of relief that there s one less competitor for now, Grab is not the only company to have just a R&D center in India and not a commercial operation. Grab s another rival Go-Jek had opened a development office in Bangalore last year. Go-Jek also has three local acquisition deals under its belt as the company aims to build a stronger engineering team.

Even retail giants like Walmart have been heavily investing in India for amplifying the R&D centers. Back in 2014, the company invested in building a new facility in Bangalore that would house 350-400 new employees for its e-commerce and technology operations.

While Apple is already in India s consumer market, the company last year announced opening a development office in Hyderabad to focus on the development of Maps for Apple products. Along with accelerating Maps development, the company said that the investment will help create up to 4,000 jobs. ALSO READ: Uber India launches new cognitive security feature called real-time ID check

UPDATE: Grab has said it will open one R&D center in Bangalore. Headline and content of the copy have been updated to reflect the same.

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  • Published Date: March 16, 2017 11:28 AM IST
  • Updated Date: March 16, 2017 5:13 PM IST

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