Grab buys Indonesian startup to beef up mobile payment

by Haadi Bakar
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Grab, Uber’s biggest rival in Southeast Asia, has acquired Indonesian startup Kudo to help boost its mobile payment platform.

Grab said the Kudo online payment platform, which it has acquired in an undisclosed amount, will be integrated with Grab’s existing payment ecosystem GrabPay.

“Grab will support and accelerate the expansion of Kudo’s agent network across Indonesia, and leverage Kudo’s reach to bring more riders, ad drivers and GrabPay users onto the Grab platform,” Grab said in a statement.

Reuters reported that the deal is worth “over US$100 million” when the news agency wrote about the possibility of the acquisition early this year.

The Kudo payment system enabled Indonesians who do not own a credit card or have bank accounts to buy items online. A large majority of the Southeast Asian nation do not own credit cards.

The three-year-old startup uses an agent model to deploy its system throughout Indonesia. To date, the firm has 400,000 agents across 500 towns in the country. Initially, the startup used point-of-sale kiosks located in public areas.

Grab began working an GrabPay in July last year using Indonesia as its testing ground. Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous countries with a recorded population of of over 263,510,000.

Back in 2013, Grab set up an office in Beijing after it had acquired Chinese ride-sharing startup Youche.

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