Grab Financial Group, the financial technology arm of Southeast Asia-based ride-hailing app Grab, on Tuesday rolled out a series of consumer financial services, including microinvestment and microloan schemes.
The company’s new strategy, “Thrive With Grab,” includes microinvestments, third-party consumer loans, microinsurance and a pay-later program, expanding its formerly merchants- and small businesses-focused fintech services to consumer financial services.
“By offering innovative microtransaction-based financial services, convenient financial management tools and access to products from leading global financial institutions, we hope to unlock the tremendous potential in financial services in the region in ways that serve all Southeast Asians,” said Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial Group.
“We aim to set a new benchmark for financial services in accessibility, convenience and transparency,” he added.
Grab Financial will offer new products include AutoInvest -- a platform that allows consumers to invest small sums of money -- consumer loans and a buy-now-pay-later program.
The fintech firm sees huge potential in Southeast Asia, where 70 percent of the population is underbanked, according to a Bain, Temasek and Google e-Conomy report in 2019. The same report estimated the revenue from the digital financial services is expected to reach $60 billion by 2025 and $75 billion in digital investment assets under management.
Another research by Boston Consulting Group in May 2020 shows that more than one-third of Southeast Asian consumers are willing to shift some banking activities such as loans to nonbanking digital platforms.
The managing director said that even though the new services are not a direct response to COVID-19, the global pandemic has accelerated the transition to digital platforms.
“Even before COVID-19, it was relevant to Southeast Asia. The pandemic has accelerated the trend for several quarters, if not years,” Li told the reporters.
The announcement on Tuesday came as Grab raised up to $4.9 billion in February to spur its payment and financial services businesses. The company also secured $200 billion from Stic Investment, a Korean private equity firm, according to Bloomberg on Monday.
Founded in 2012 in Malaysia as a taxi-hailing app, Grab has attracted several Korean investors, including Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, SK Holdings, KL Investment, Naver and Mirae Asset Financial Group.
The company, valued at $14.3 billion according to CB Insights, has so far raised more than $10 billion.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)