Confirming what Gadgets 360 had reported over a week ago, Southeast Asian taxi hailing service Grab announced on Wednesday that it is hiring extensively in Bengaluru to set up a research and development centre. Gadgets 360 met Arul Kumaravel, VP Engineering at Grab in Bengaluru where he is visiting to start the processes, and learned more about the company's plans for India.
According to Kumaravel, Grab is looking to hire about 200 people, and interviews will be taking place on March 24 and March 25. Grab has already made two early hires for India, in Raghuram Trikutam, Head of Engineering, Mobile Payments, and Ruchika Sharma, Head of Human Resources - both former FreeCharge employees. A few other senior level hires are also close to completion, he says. Kumaravel told Gadgets 360 that the people being hired will be for a research and development centre, based out of Bengaluru, and would be working on the company's GrabPay cashless wallet service, which goes live in the next day or two, ahead of the full recruitment drive next week.
Much like Ola Money, GrabPay is used to pay for taxi rides, and also for other services. The thought behind this is that it will make the idea of using the wallet more sticky among consumers.
“Bengaluru has established itself as the Silicon Valley of India and one of the global hubs in mobile technology," said Kumaravel. "Our engineers are working on new products at the forefront of global transportation and payments. We welcome talented engineers looking to be a part of a customer-focused company and apply top-tier skills to complex, real-world issues."
Grab had close relationship with Ola, along with China's Didi, and Lyft in the US, as a kind of "global alliance" against Uber. However, that fell apart after Uber and Didi teamed up in China, but despite that, Grab says that it has no plans to enter the Indian market as of now, and Kumaravel added that the two companies still have a collaborative relationship. He added that the untapped opportunity in South East Asia has great potential, similar to India and China, and will remain Grab's focus.
In fact, the company will not be launching GrabPay in India either, said Kumaravel. However Grab, which is now present in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia, is going to have to look to India or China as it continues to expand, Kumaravel admits.
It is also opening up an R&D centre in Vietnam now, bringing the total number of centres to six - across Beijing, Bengaluru, Jakarta, Vietnam, Singapore and Seattle. The company says it plans to add more than 800 new jobs in six R&D centres worldwide.