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Ride-hailing firm Grab launches services in Cambodia

SINGAPORE/PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Ride-hailing firm Grab, the biggest Southeast Asian rival of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], on Tuesday said it has launched services in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, expanding its presence to an eighth country in the region.

The Singapore-headquartered firm said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport to support infrastructure development.

The launch marks the latest development in a quick-moving industry, coming just three months after Uber likewise began services in what the World Bank ranks as the sixth-fastest expanding economy.

In October, Grab secured $700 million in debt financing to expand its fleet and signed an exclusive partnership with Singapore public transport operator SMRT.

Earlier this month, Singapore taxi firm ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd bought 51 percent of Uber-owned car rental business Lion City Holdings.

Before the launch of ride-hailing services in Phnom Penh, transportation included public buses and taxis as well as unmarked, unmetered taxis which hotels help to arrange for tourists. Motorcycle taxis and auto-rickshaws, or tuk-tuks, are also popular.

Chris Brummitt, Uber’s Asia-Pacific head of corporate and product communications, declined to comment on Grab’s Cambodia launch.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in SINGAPORE and Prak Chan Thul in PHNOM PENH; Additional reporting and writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre in BANGKOK; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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