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GrabTaxi invests S$135.5M in its first R&D centre in Singapore

Zafirah Salim | April 9, 2015
This new facility will become GrabTaxi’s technology hub as it houses the majority of its technical staff and engineers from around the world, including new senior hires from Facebook, Amazon and Palantir Technologies.

GrabTaxi, Southeast Asia's largest mobile phone transport app, launched today its first Research and Development (R&D) Centre in Singapore.

Located in the Central Business District, this new facility - worth US$100 million (S$135.5 million) - will become GrabTaxi's technology hub as it houses the majority of its technical staff and engineers from around the world. It will eventually house 200 engineers and data scientists, the company said in a media statement.

It added that the R&D centre reinforces their commitment to the region and an acknowledgment that Southeast Asia has the infrastructure and capacity to become a global technology hub.

A significant portion of GrabTaxi's investment in technology will be used to hire talent from across the world to join the GrabTaxi team. The R&D centre will be headed by Wei Zhu, GrabTaxi's CTO, who was formerly head of the Facebook engineering team that developed Facebook Connect.

Other senior hires in GrabTaxi include Kevin Lee as Vice President, Data and Growth at GrabTaxi. Formerly Head of Asia for Palantir Technologies, an American software and services company focused on data analysis, Lee started and grew Palantir's Asia business in Singapore. Also coming on board will be co-founder of GrabTaxi, Tan Hooi Ling, who rejoins the company to handle Expansion and New Services after a two-year stint at Salesforce in the US.

The final addition to the senior management team is Arul Kumaravel, Vice President of Engineering. Formerly from Amazon, Kumaravel led the product vision, strategy and development of Amazon Mobile Platform and Shopping application.

Anthony Tan, GrabTaxi Founder and Group CEO, believes that their experience and expertise with these global powerhouses will help GrabTaxi reach its true potential.

"Though we remain focused on Southeast Asia, we know that talent is global. This new R&D Centre has put on us a level playing field with the largest technology companies in the world," he said.

Currently in 20 cities across 6 countries, GrabTaxi has grown exponentially since its launch in 2012. It has currently over 3.8 million downloads and over 75,000 vehicles under its network across the region.


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