Hyundai invests in Grab to gain ‘foothold’ in South-east Asia

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SEOUL: South Korea's Hyundai Motor said yesterday it had invested in South-east Asian firm Grab, as it seeks to expand into the region to reduce its reliance on China following a damaging diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing.

Hyundai's first direct investment in a ride-hailing firm gives it a "foothold" in the world's third-biggest ride-hailing market after China and the United States, it said.

Singapore-based Grab, the biggest operator in the region's third-party taxi hailing and private-vehicle hailing sector, has expanded to eight South-east Asian countries.

"The deal should help raise the exposure of Hyundai Motor in the region, while responding to the future mobility market," said Mr Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at IBK Securities.

Hyundai's interest in South-east Asia has grown since South Korean companies were targeted last year in a Chinese backlash over Seoul's decision to deploy a US missile defence system against Beijing's objections.

Hyundai and Grab said they would jointly develop services in South-east Asia, including one utilising Hyundai's eco-friendly models such as the Ioniq Electric. They did not disclose the value of Hyundai's investment. - REUTERS