SINGAPORE: Taxi booking app GrabTaxi on Wednesday (Apr 8) opened its US$100 million (S$136 million) research and development (R&D) centre.
Located along Cecil Street, in the heart of the central business district, the 4,500-square-feet R&D centre will serve as GrabTaxi’s technology hub, and home to about 200 engineers and data scientists. It will focus on analysing data and spotting trends from multiple sources.
The investment, over the next few years, marks a milestone for South-east Asian start-ups.
GrabTaxi Founder and Group CEO Anthony Tan said this has now put the company on a level playing field with the largest technology companies in the world. It had hired talent from tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon.
“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.
“Singapore was the logical choice for us when we first started planning this R&D Centre. The strong existing infrastructure and conducive business environment are ideal for us to build and develop this global pool of talent.”
The company stressed that R&D is integral to its core operations.
"This is where the magic happens," said GrabTaxi Chief Technology Officer Wei Zhu. "When somebody wants to book a taxi, how do we find the user the correct driver, with the fastest time? How do we get them to know where they are and how long it will take? All these things, payments and things like that."
“EDB is confident that the centre will further contribute to the host of exciting new jobs that are being created in Singapore,” added the Economic Development Board’s Assistant Managing Director Ms Thien Kwee Eng in the GrabTaxi press release.