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Grab to expand from ride-hailing to financial services

Singapore-based ride hailing service Grab is gearing up for a new round of fundraising to back a move into the financial services market, Reuters reports.

Just over a quarter of Southeast Asian adults have bank accounts. Grab, which operates in seven Southeast Asian countries, already offers its drivers micro-loans and support in opening bank accounts. It wants to expand those services to include money transfer services and a money-market fund.

In Grab’s last round, in September, it raised $750 million. Grab’s move is part of a trend among emerging market companies to look at underserved markets for business opportunities, as telecom provider Safaricom did in launching M-Pesa for mobile payments in Kenya.

India-based Ola, for example, is looking beyond ride-hailing to electric car manufacturing. It’s no coincidence: Both Ola and Grab are portfolio companies of Japan’s SoftBank.

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