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Battle for Tech Talent in Ride-Sharing Wars Expands to Asia

Uber’s largest rival in Southeast Asia, GrabTaxi, has reportedly announced the launch of an R&D center in Singapore this week. The move marks the latest battle in the global expansion of ride-sharing turf wars as companies seek to draw talent from overseas.

GrabTaxi, which began in a small room in Malaysia in 2011, has come a long way.

According to TechCrunch, GrabTaxi raised $250 million from SoftBank this past December and has raised $320 million to date. The company’s Malaysian, Harvard Business School grad CEO Anthony Tan said that GrabTaxi is collaborating with the Singaporean government on a 45,000 sq. foot center there and will invest close to $100 million into its staffing and development. The new facility will reportedly eventually be housing 200 engineers and a slew of data scientists.

Part of the reason Tan selected Singapore as the new hub, aside from its geographical proximity to cities in SouthEast Asia, is an attempt to create a smoother balance for GrabTaxi’s operations in 20 cities across six countries in SouthEast Asia. The second major reason behind the new R&D center is GrabTaxi’s desire to lure engineering talent from other companies and other parts of the world, TechCrunch writes. Tan explained that overseas employees usually bring a host of “overseas talent” with them.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based Uber has reportedly just launched a cash-only rickshaw ridesharing service in India’s capital city, New Delhi. Uber has already established itself in Hong Kong.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz

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