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A Grab 'Ojek' motorcycle taxi driver waits beside a street in Jakarta. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

This morning, Grab announced a $200 million strategic investment from Booking Holdings, which most people still know as Priceline.

Why it matters: Grab began life as a ride-hail company, but it's also becoming one of Southeast Asia's largest non-bank financial firms.

Last week I interviewed Grab Financial execs Reuben Lai and Jason Thompson, as part of the Money 20/20 conference in Last Vegas. Some notes:

Several years ago Grab launched its own payments platform, which works with thousands of third-party merchants (and now even more, based on a partnership it just announced with Mastercard). It also has gotten into the small-business loan business.

Lai argues that finance is a bigger potential market for Grab than is ride-hail, given the large number of unbanked and underbanked people in Southeast Asia. But there are not currently any plans to spin off the unit. There are also no plans to expand into other geographic markets, such as China.

  • He also said that Alibaba never invested in Grab, contrary to many media reports from earlier this year.

Thompson was poached in late 2016 from Euronet to lead GrabPay, but now he is officially CEO of an Indonesia-based digital wallet company called OVO. There is a strategic relationship between Grab and OVO, but both Lai and Thompson got a bit cagey when pressed for specifics.

  • Speaking of Indonesia: Grab rival Go-Jek has secured around $1.2 billion at a valuation north of $9 billion, from existing backers like Google, Tencent and JD.com, per The Information. The round is not yet closed.

Go deeper

California to pay off unpaid rent accrued during COVID-19 pandemic

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California will pay off the accumulated unpaid rent that has piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The move would fulfill a promise to landlords to help them to break even, while giving renters relief, the AP writes.

U.S. announces destinations for 55 million more COVID vaccine doses

President Biden at a press conference on the final day of the G7 summit. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Monday announced a list of countries that will receive the remaining 55 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that the U.S. has pledged to allocate by the end of this month.

The state of play: The White House had previously named the recipients of the first 25 million of the 80 million doses that the U.S. has pledged to export, as it took its first step toward becoming a global vaccine supplier.