Ola, Didi Kuaidi, Lyft And GrabTaxi Announce Global Partnership In Big Challenge To Uber

04/12/2015 3:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
A pedestrian walks past an advertisement for the Ola ride-hailing service and application, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt., in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Ola, the operator of an Indian taxi-hailing app, will lease cars to boost the number of vehicles in its network to stave off competition from Uber Technologies Inc. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NEW DELHI--It's now officially Uber vs everyone else in the space of technology-led cab aggregation businesses.

Uber's Indian rival Ola and Chinese rival Didi Kuaidi have come together with US-based service Lyft and Singapore’s GrabTaxi to announce a global partnership between the four companies. This will mean a customer with any of these apps will be able to use each other's platform when travelling to another country. The companies said in a statement that together they cover half of the world population.

Together, they have raised more than $7 billion. They also have common backers. Uber's real headache from here on would be to worry about its biggest rivals in disparate markets coming together.

Lyft had raised $100 million from Didi Kuaidi in September and had partnered with the Chinese company. This essentially means, their respective users can hail rides from drivers of the other app while they are traveling to the other country.

This was clearly a step in the battle against Uber, as it is the only player that is operating in 60 countries worldwide.

With the new partnership, these companies now cover nearly all of Southeast Asia, India, China and the United States, reaching nearly 50% of the world’s population.

According to a release announcing the partnership, the companies will collaborate and leverage each other’s technology, local market knowledge, and business resources through this global alliance.

So, now international travelers can access local on-demand rides by using the same application they use at home. Each country will handle mapping, routing and payments through a secure API.

In order to give a stronger rebellion to Uber, Ola acquired its rival Taxiforsure in March 2015.

In India, Ola is one of the most preferred mobile platform for personal transportation, available in 102 cities across the country. At the moment it claims to own 80% of the market share of app led cab hailing businesses in the country and is valued at $5 billion.

“We are excited to partner with Lyft, Didi Kuaidi and GrabTaxi, allowing seamless mobility access across hundreds of cities globally for our combined user base that runs into hundreds of millions,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO of Ola.

Didi is the world’s largest one-stop mobile-based transportation platform providing 7 million rides per day across 360 Chinese cities. Didi holds an 83% market share in private car hailing and a dominant position in all other verticals including taxi hailing, bus, and corporate services.

Valued at a $2.5 billion, while Lyft’s model is slightly different from Uber, it still gives a good competition to it in the Unites States, completing 7 million rides per month in more than 190 cities.

GrabTaxi is operational in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, and is also in trying to fend off Uber to become the number one in South East Asia region. With a wide range of options to choose from--taxis, motorcycle taxis, private cars, carpooling and deliveries, GrabTaxi is gaining popularity in South East Asia.

Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Kuaidi, said, “As Didi consolidates market leadership across all main verticals, we are now focused on applying more refined big-data tools to in-depth product innovation to enhance the user experience.”

Wei said that this will be a "win for the diversity and vitality of the global rideshare industry.”

Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer is of the opinion that this "isn’t solely an alliance of four companies, but also an opportunity have a greater impact on the future of our cities worldwide.”

“We are pleased to help Lyft, Didi and Ola offer transportation services in Southeast Asia where the significant diversity of language, culture and social practices across the region can be challenging for foreign companies to navigate,” said Anthony Tan, CEO of GrabTaxi.

Tan said this will solve major transportation challenges for the long-term.

While Uber is currently valued at $51 billion, these companies together are equivalent to $25 billion. So, even though there's still a wide gap, it's time for Uber to gear up.

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