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Honda Invests in Grab, Promising Driver Education and Bike Safety

On Monday, the ride-hailing app Grab announced a new partnership with Japanese auto firm Honda.

Though financial details were not disclosed, Tech in Asia reports the Japanese carmaker has made a “strategic investment” in Grab, and that both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding “[collaboration] on driver education programs to promote motorbike safety, efforts to reduce traffic and environmental congestion in urban areas through rideshare, and other technological advancements”, according to the news outlet.

Currently valued at over US$3 billion, Singapore-based Grab has come a long way since its founding in 2012. In the last four years, the Southeast Asian startup has received ample funding from Japanese investors as it attempts to hold its own against global giant Uber. The two apps now compete in 34 cities throughout the region, with Grab boasting over 500,000 drivers in six countries.

While Grab’s new partnership with Honda is a sign of the startup’s willingness to keep up with its competition, Uber also has a partnership with Honda competitor Toyota. Both Japanese firms are currently testing self-driving vehicle technology, a feature which could be useful to ride-hailing services in future.

[Photo via Flickr user skhakirov]

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