Uber rival Grab plans to hire 800 engineers for its six R&D facilities in Asia, US

Ride-hailing service provider Grab plans to hire 800 new staff over two years across its six research and development centers around Asia and the United States, the company said on Wednesday.

Grab, which is a competitor to Uber in Southeast Asia, doubled its R&D centers to six, from three, in the last three months. Centers in Bangalore — which is India's version of Silicon Valley — and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam are the newest additions to the existing research facilities in Beijing, Jakarta, Singapore and Seattle.

A taxi featuring an advertisement for GrabTaxi, operated by Grab, center, waits with other taxis at the Vivo City taxi stand in Singapore, on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.
Ore Huiying | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"Southeast Asia is developing at a breakneck pace and we have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver a platform that caters to the region's mobile-first environment and infrastructural needs," Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder of Grab, said in a media statement.

Engineers and developers at the six facilities will look into specific areas such as machine learning, predictive data analytics, mobile-first technology and consumer-focused user experience to improve on Grab's existing platform.

In Bangalore, Grab will have up to 200 engineers who will look at developing new technologies for the company's digital payments platform, GrabPay. Meanwhile, the center in Ho Chi Minh City will look at creating in-app user experiences designed for Vietnamese users.

Grab, which reports say is valued over $3 billion, has a presence in 39 cities across Asia, with over 710,000 drivers on its network. Recently, the company introduced new transport services for carpooling rides, hiring coaches and pre-booking seats on shuttle buses.