Grab rival Be Group gets $60m loan for Vietnam expansion

VIETNAMESE ride-hailing startup Be Group JSC said it has received a loan facility of at least $60 million as it seeks to further challenge Grab Holdings Ltd. in the Southeast Asian country.

The loan from Deutsche Bank AG includes a provision that would allow financing to increase to as much as $100 million, Be Group’s Chief Executive Officer Vu Hoang Yen said in an interview in Hanoi. The funds will be used to expand and enhance its primary services, which include ride-hailing, food deliveries and digital banking.

Vietnam’s fast-expanding ride-hailing sector is seeing renewed competition from companies like Indonesia’s Go-Jek and FastGo Vietnam JSC as countries ease from Covid-linked lockdowns. The market is forecast to grow at a compounded annual rate of more than 28% over the next five years, according to research company Mordor Intelligence.

Launched in 2018, Be Group has expanded into deliveries, online groceries, insurance, telecom service bundles, financial services and operates in 28 provinces and cities. To date, its app has been installed on more than 20 million mobile devices.

The company – the owner and developer of the on-demand multi-service consumer platform “be”, expects to surpass 10 active users next year, she said. Be aims to more than double that figure by 2026.

The company has a 30% to 40% share of the ride-hailing market in Hanoi, and 25% to 35% in Ho Chi Minh City, Yen said. Singapore-based Grab had about a 75% ride-hailing market share in Vietnam in the first half of 2020, according to research firm Statista. –BLOOMBERG