The Korea Herald


SK Inc. seeks bigger footing in Southeast Asia’s car-sharing market

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : March 16, 2023 - 15:00

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A woman uses Socar at a shopping mall in the Bangsar area near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. (SK Inc.) A woman uses Socar at a shopping mall in the Bangsar area near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. (SK Inc.)

SK Inc., the investment arm of SK Group, said Thursday it will divest all of its 2.98 percent stake in Turo, the San Francisco-based car-sharing company, as it is looking to cement its leadership in the fast-growing mobility market in Southeast Asia.

SK will sell its stake in Turo to Swiss-based venture capital firm G Squared, an existing shareholder, for $67.5 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of this year, company officials said.

“We are pleased to collaborate with SK Inc., strengthening our relationship and providing liquidity to a fellow long-standing Turo shareholder,” said Larry Aschebrook, founder and managing partner at G Squared.

The holding unit of the nation’s third-largest conglomerate had initially invested $35 million in Turo in 2017. After closing the deal, SK will likely to achieve about a 121 percent rate of return on the investment, while G Squared will become Turo’s second-largest shareholder.

SK has been leading the global market for vehicle sharing and mobility technology with its investment in Turo and in Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing platform provider. Based on its investment portfolios, the company aims to bolster investment in car-sharing, electric vehicle charging platforms and self-driving solutions in Korea and Southeast Asia.

The company said it will focus on the expansion of Socar, the Korean car-sharing service owned by SK, in Malaysia and other neighboring countries such as Indonesia. SK currently holds a 66 percent stake in Socar Malaysia.

SK entered the Southeast Asian mobility market in 2017 by forging a 60-40 joint venture with Socar Korea in Malaysia. In 2020, it secured Socar Malaysia’s management rights by acquiring an additional stake and turned the firm into an integrated mobility platform by combining Socar Korea’s B2C model with Trevo’s P2P car-sharing and Buddy Driver’s driver service models. Socar Malaysia entered the Indonesian market in the following year.

“By focusing on the Southeast Asian mobility market, which is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, SK Inc. will build a leading car-share company in Southeast Asia while reinforcing the virtuous cycle of reinvesting our funds into new mobility businesses,” said Yu Kyung-sang, head of the digital investment center at SK Inc.