KBank hitches ride with Grab

The companies say the partnership will empower customers under a “digital lifestyle ecosystem”.

Under the deal, the partners will launch on-demand services including GrabPay by KBank, a co-branded mobile payment application, as well as a suite of other financial services that are planned to be launched in 2019. The partnership comes with a S$50 million strategic investment from KBank in Singapore-based Grab, and is part of Grab's ongoing fundraising round.

KBank president Patchara Samalapa said that the lender’s global strategic direction calls for it to expand into the so-called AEC+3 markets, where digital technology capabilities will be enhanced via digital channels and mobile solutions.

“Better Together is KBank's commitment to work closely with strategic partners who are the best-in-class in their sectors by complementing and fulfilling each other's strengths seamlessly in the pursuit of offering everyday use services for customers,” Patchara said.

“Our partnership with Grab opens up new opportunities to innovate in a rapidly evolving industry and growth region. We are excited to team up with Grab to transform the customer experience in this digital lifestyle ecosystem for Grab's users, driver-partners, and merchants as well as enhance the delivery of digital services and mobility for millions of users who rely on Grab for safe and affordable transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments, and financial services.”

Patchara said KBank has bold ambitions of becoming the digital bank of choice in the region.

“Our co-branded mobile wallet and strategic investment in Grab enables us to bring Grab's scale to our merchant and consumer network in Thailand,” Patchara said.

“This is the first time KBank (through Beacon VC) has made a venture capital investment in an international company with a core business outside Thailand, calling to attention the size of the opportunity Grab's Asean-wide user base offers, even to leading financial institutions like KBank.”

Patchara said the deal marked the highest stage of venture capital investment by a Thai investor to date.

“We look forward to developing innovative financial products together with Grab, which will put KBank in a position to tap into the rapidly growing digital economy across the region,” Patchara said.

"In 2018, Grab Financial has cemented itself as Southeast Asia's leading fintech platform, both in terms of monthly active users (MAU) and total payments volume (TPV).

“This partnership makes Grab Financial the first mobile payments platform to launch e-money-licensed payments services across Asean-6 and underlines the strength of our partnership-based strategy.”

Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial, said: “By opening up our platform, we have attracted many of the leading players in the financial services industry and driven exponential growth for our business.”