SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ride-hailing firm Grab, the main rival of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] in Southeast Asia, on Wednesday announced two new research and development (R&D) centers and said it planned to add 800 developers over the coming two years.
R&D centers in Bengaluru and Ho Chi Minh City will add to centers in Seattle, Beijing, Jakarta and at home in Singapore, as the company seeks to capitalize on growth prospects in South and Southeast Asia.
The new developers will be sought across all centers.
"Southeast Asia is developing at a breakneck pace," Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said in a statement.
Grab's R&D focuses on machine learning, predictive data analytics, mobile-first technology and user experience, the firm said in the statement.
The Bengaluru center will focus on developing payment technologies for digital payment platform GrabPay. The Ho Chi Minh City center will aim to improve user experience.
The ride-hailing firm also said its offices will move to an almost 100,000 square foot space in Singapore's Central Business District, from a 4,500 square foot space at present.
Last year, Grab started testing driverless cars with passengers able to request "robo-cars" in selected areas of Singapore. [nL3N1BZ1U9]
(Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Christopher Cushing)