SK Telecom’s T Map will be expanding into Southeast Asia by way of Grab, a Singapore-based ride hailing service. SKT is planning to set up a company with Grab to create a T Map-based GPS navigation system for Grab drivers.
During a press conference at the SKT main office on Euljiro Street in Seoul on Jan. 30 that was attended by SKT President Park Jung-ho and Grab cofounder and CEO Anthony Tan, the company announced it had reached an agreement with Grab to establish Grab Geo Holdings. This company will have its headquarters in Singapore, with its CEO appointed by Grab and its CTO (chief technical officer) appointed by SKT. The specific equity ratio was not disclosed, but Grab will have a larger share of the company.
Grab Geo Holdings plans to build a T Map-based navigation system for Grab drivers in Singapore by this coming March and then expand into the rest of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Grab will be providing the maps and driving data, while SKT will be handling the infrastructure and technology, including technology for developing a navigation system, big data algorithms and solutions for ultraprecise positioning.
Established in 2012, Grab is Southeast Asia’s largest mobility platform, providing taxi, private vehicle and limousine hailing services in 336 cities in eight countries in the region. Based on downloads of the mobile app (135 million), the company ranks third in the world, following China’s Didi Chuxing and Uber. Reportedly, it was Grab that approached SKT about the joint venture. Until now, Grab has been using Google’s map platform.
Rather than scouring South Korea’s cramped domestic market for more mobility business openings, SKT appears to be eyeing opportunities to put its technological infrastructure to use overseas. The company announced its plans to explore new B2B, or business-to-business, projects in Southeast Asia.
“The establishment of this company will be the starting point of change and have a major impact on the way that mobility services are used in Southeast Asia,” remarked Park.“Grab’s regards its key strategy as being hyperlocal. That strategy will receive a major boost from combining SKT’s map and navigation technology with Grab’s local data,” said Tan.―The Hankyoreh