November 26, 2019 / 11:42 AM / 20 days ago

Singapore's Grab launches pilot motorbike-hailing service in Malaysia

FILE PHOTO: A Grab logo is pictured at the Money 20/20 Asia Fintech Trade Show in Singapore March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Anshuman Daga

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Ride-hailing firm Grab has launched a pilot program for motorbike hailing in Malaysia, barely a month after regional rival Gojek was given the green light to begin limited operations in the country.

The Singapore-based company, a dominant player in Southeast Asia after it acquired Uber’s [UBER.UL] business in the region last year, said on its website that the move was in line with the government’s effort to test out the service.

Grab is backed by familiar names in technology sector including SoftBank Group Corp, Microsoft Corp, Toyota Motor Corp and Uber.

Malaysia said earlier this month that it will allow motorbike-hailing services such as Indonesia’s Gojek to operate on a limited scale for six months from January next year as pilot schemes to measure demand for the service.

The six-month program would allow the government and participating firms to gather data and evaluate demand while officials work on drafting legislation to govern bike-hailing.

Grab said the pilot service - limited to Klang Valley, Malaysia’s most developed region, where the capital Kuala Lumpur is located - will also include food delivery. The company is recruiting pilot drivers until next Monday.

Grab already operates GrabBike in other markets like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Jan Harvey

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