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Hyundai invests in Uber's Southeast Asian rival Grab

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South Korea’s Hyundai Motors has invested in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab, as it seeks to expand in the world’s third-biggest ride-hailing market after China and the United States.

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Grab did not disclose the value of Hyundai’s investment. Hyundai joined other investors, including Didi Chuxing, SoftBank and Toyota Tsusho (Toyota’s Next Technology Fund) in the latest fundraising round, Grab said.

The two companies will work on a new mobility service platform that will use Hyundai vehicle models such as the Ioniq Electric. Ioniq is available in three electrified powertrain-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure battery electric.

Hyundai’s interest in Southeast Asia has grown since South Korean companies were targeted last year in a Chinese backlash over Seoul’s decision to deploy a US missile defense system against Beijing’s objections. The car company has also been exploring ways to improve mobility services such as car-sharing and car-pooling as part of efforts to "free users" from existing limitations. Last January, it partnered WaiveCar to introduce a car-sharing scheme that operated on advertising revenue using its IONIQ Electric model in the US.

Hyundai last week announced for the first time a self-driving technology partnership with Silicon Valley start-up Aurora, a shift from its usual preference for developing technology itself.

Grab's services currently are available in eight markets in the region including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

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