Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation has announced a $1 billion USD investment into Grab Holdings Inc., a Singapore-based ride hailing company. With the investment, Toyota will appoint one executive to Grab's board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer. Until March this year, Grab was Uber's biggest competitor in the Asian region. And just like a similar situation in China, Uber felt they could not compete in the market and sold their ride share and food delivery businesses in return for a 27.5 percent stake in Grab and a spot on its board for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
On April 8th this year, Uber's ride share service was gone and their commuters in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam switched over to Grab. Grab boasts two million driving partners and claims to book 3.5 million rides a day. Toyota and Uber are not Grab's only major investors. Softbank and Didi Chuxing are also among their largest backers. When Softbank invested $250 million USD in 2014, it was the largest investment ever made into a South East Asian internet company on public record.
Investments grew overtime. A $350 million USD in 2015 from Didi and China Investment Corporation. And then an additional $750 million USD in 2016 from Softbank, Didi and Honda. Then a further $2.5 billion USD from Softbank, Didi and Toyota in 2017. The $1 billion investment Toyota made today has experts estimating Grab's company value between $7-10 billion USD. However, even at the high end of $10 billion, Grab is relatively small compared to some of the players in the ride hailing industry. Uber was valued at $62 billion in a stock deal announced in May. Their Chinese counterparts Didi Chuxing was valued at $56 billion after a fund raising round in December. But Grab does not have a lot to worry about since both those major players are also its major backers. Toyota has a market capitalization of about $221 billion and about $54 billion in cash, equivalents and short-term investments.