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Taxi firms build international alliance against Uber

Ola, Lyft, Didi Kuaidi and GrabTaxi agree to take Uber for a ride and not a joyous one

tech Updated: Dec 04, 2015 17:32 IST
The companies will share information on new technology and products, and knowledge of local markets and regulations.
The companies will share information on new technology and products, and knowledge of local markets and regulations.(Getty Images)

If you are a senior executive at Uber, Friday just brought you some bad news.

Four major taxi-hailing apps -- India’s Ola, US-based Lyft, China’s Didi Kuaidi and Southeast Asia-based GrabTaxi -- have entered into a ridesharing partnership to take on common rival Uber.

The agreement, which will start rolling in the first quarter of 2016, will enable the four companies to allow users to book cabs on each other’s app in all the regions they operate.

“Together, these companies now cover nearly all of Southeast Asia, India, China and the United States, reaching nearly 50% of the world’s population,” the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

The companies will also share information on new technology and products, and knowledge of local markets and regulations. The alliance builds upon a deal signed by San Francisco-based Lyft with Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest ride-hailing company in September.

“Each country will handle mapping, routing and payments through a secure API(software protocol),” the statement said.

The deal would allow these ride services to chip away at the market share of Uber, which is spread across 67 countries. But Uber with a market value of $50 billion still has an upper hand in terms of finance. India’s Ola ($5 bn), Didi Kuaidi ($15 bn), Lyft ($2.5 bn) and GrabTaxi ($1.5 bn) just add up to $24 bn, which is less than half of Uber’s estimated value.

Uber with a market value of $50 billion still has an upper hand in terms of finance. India’s Ola ($5 bn), Didi Kuaidi ($15 bn), Lyft ($2.5 bn) and GrabTaxi ($1.5 bn) just add up to $24 bn, which is less than half of Uber's estimated value (Altas (Quartz.com))

Uber, though, is not exactly dominant in all the markets it operates in.

In India, Ola has a clear lead with presence across 102 cities against Uber’s 22. In China, Uber can be hailed in 15 cities, while Didi Kuaidi is available in over 300. GrabTaxi is the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia with up to 1.5 mn daily bookings across six countries.

Uber, though, is not exactly dominant in all the markets it operates in. In India, Ola has a clear lead with presence across 102 cities against Uber’s 22. In China, Uber can be hailed in 15 cities, while Didi Kuaidi is available in over 300. GrabTaxi is the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia with up to 1.5 mn daily bookings across six countries (Atlas (Quartz.com))

And in the US, Lyft is the fastest-growing rideshare service completing 7 million rides per month in more than 190 cities. Meanwhile, Tiger Global Management, the most influential venture capital firm operating in India, picked up a stake in Uber Technologies Inc.

This raised allegations that the investor was playing both sides. Tiger Global, which also has investments in Lyft, was recently on a funding spree for Uber’s biggest competitors in Asia.