Uber is backing out of Southeast Asia, opting instead to sell its business in the region to Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab. Grab will be taking over Uber’s ride-sharing within the eight Southeast Asian markets in which they are operational. In doing so, Grab will also be taking over Uber Eats in the area.
Obviously, this isn’t just a momentous act of philanthropy on Uber’s part; they have to get something out of the deal. According to Bloomberg, Uber will receive around 25% to 30% equity in Grab as a result of the deal.
The move comes just a couple of months following Japanese holding company Softbank became a long-term shareholder in Uber. This is not likely to be a mere coincidence, as Softbank has reportedly urged Uber to consolidate their business in emerging markets, including Southeast Asia.
Exactly why Uber decided to sell to Grab is still unclear. There was potential of gaining upwards of 600 million consistent customers in Southeast Asia, so it’s not like they couldn’t be successful in the region and decided to pull out before things got bad. At least, it doesn’t seem that way; maybe Uber knows something we don’t.