Thailand's Kasikornbank has made a strategic $50 million investment in ride-hailing app Grab as part of plans to launch the company's GrabPay wallet in the cash happy Thai market.
The launch in Thailand completes a six-pack of Asean countries for Grab's popular mobile money app, following incursions in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
According to Bank of Thailand, 68% of all transactions in the country are carried out in cash, which costs the Thai economy millions of Baht each year. Set for launch in 2019, the co-branded GrabPay by KBank app will enable users to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds to friends and family, purchase products and services online, and make QR-code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand.
Going forward, the partners intend to merge their mobile apps and ultimately roll out a suite of joint products, including loans to merchants and corporate transport expense management services.
The collaboration comes with a $50 million investment from KBank in Grab, and is part of the firm’s ongoing fundraising round, which includes Toyota Motor Corporation, Microsoft, Booking Holdings, Hyundai Motor Group, Oppenheimer Funds, and other leading global investors. The investment is a first for KBank in an international company with a core business outside of Thailand
Patchara Samalapa, president, Kasikornbank says, “Kasikornbank has bold ambitions of becoming the digital bank of choice in the region. We look forward to developing innovative financial products together, which will put KBank in a position to tap into the rapidly growing digital economy across the region.”