Grab's recent $100 million investment into Oyo is part of an effort to assist the budget hotel company expand at a quicker rate within Southeast Asia and is in SoftBank Group's list of businesses to team together and grow. SoftBank is also a major investor in both companies.
A stake in Oyo, on the other hand, will help Grab inch closer towards its ambition to be the everyday super app used by Southeast Asian consumers to book, and pay, for a range of services using its e-wallet, GrabPay. Travel and hotel booking is a key service and a core growth sector — particularly the budget hotel segment, according to a recent joint Google/Temasek study on the internet economy in Southeast Asia.
“Many hotels in Southeast Asia, particularly in the budget segment and in ‘off-the-beaten’ path locations, still receive the majority of bookings through offline channels, though they are poised to increasingly go online in the years ahead,” said the study, which estimates online hotel booking in the region is worth $14 billion this year and rising at a compounded annual growth rate of 18 percent.
According to a Bloomberg report, SoftBank is encouraging the creation of “unicorn farms,”where companies in its $100 billion Vision Fund partner each other in the way birds of the same feather flock together.
Aside from Oyo, Vision Fund portfolio companies, now around 65, include shared office space firm WeWork, Ping An Healthcare Technology and Ping An Good Doctor, and Slack Technologies.
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