Hyundai Motor invests in ride-hailing firm Grab

Hyundai said on Thursday it had invested in Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab, in the South Korean automaker’s first foray into the rapidly growing sector as it tries to diversify following a sales slump in China.

Grab has expanded to eight Southeast Asian countries and has said it is the biggest operator in the region’s third-party taxi hailing and private-vehicle hailing sector.

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The companies will jointly develop services in Southeast Asia, including one utilizing Hyundai’s eco-friendly models such as the IONIQ, the two firms said in a statement.

They did not disclose the value of Hyundai’s investment and a spokeswoman for the automaker declined to comment further.

Grab’s latest fundraising round, which Hyundai has joined, already includes investors such as China’s Didi Chuxing, Japan’s SoftBank and Toyota Tsusho, the firms added.

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Hyundai said on Wednesday it is considering building a car plant in Southeast Asia, possibly in Indonesia or Vietnam.

The company’s interest in the region has grown since a diplomatic row between Beijing and Seoul last year hurt South Korean firms that are highly reliant on the Chinese market.

The automaker also announced for the first time a self-driving technology partnership with Silicon Valley start-up Aurora earlier this month, a shift from its usual preference for developing technology itself.

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