SINGAPORE (Mar 27): As Uber Technologies Inc. looked to conquer ride-sharing around the world, Grab was focused on serving the 620 million people that share its home in Southeast Asia.

Helped by the deep pockets of SoftBank Group Corp., Grab emerged the winner on Monday when Uber agreed to swap its business in the region for a 27.5% stake. The deal is a vindication for co-founder Anthony Tan’s strategy of tailoring services to local needs and working with incumbent taxi operators instead of against them.

With US$4 billion ($5.2 billion) raised from investors led by SoftBank, Tan has turned Grab into a ride-hailing juggernaut since it was born in a tiny Kuala Lumpur storage room about six years ago. Rich funding has helped him lure top talent and survive through the losses generated by a fierce battle with Uber to win over customers.

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