The company behind the popular GrabTaxi app has opened a US$100 million (S$136 million) research and development centre in Singapore, hoping to make better sense of the data it collects from users and taxi drivers alike.
The new centre will house 200 engineers and data scientists, who will analyse the data and spot trends that it can use to improve its business of connecting passengers with taxis.
Located at Cecil Street, in the middle of Singapore’s business district, the R&D centre is the latest sign of the meteoric rise of the new middlemen in the “sharing economy”.
Used in 20 cities across six countries, GrabTaxi has more than 3.8 million downloads and over 75,000 vehicles under its network. Since its launch in 2012, it has become Uber’s main challenger in Southeast Asia.
Most of the new investment will be spent on getting experts to join its ranks in the next few years, said GrabTaxi today.
The new R&D centre is headed by Wei Zhu, the company’s chief technology officer and former head of a Facebook engineering team.