GrabTaxi, Didi Kuaidi, Lyft and Ola in global pact
By Digital News Asia December 4, 2015
- Expands existing Lyft and Didi Kuaidi partnership
- Seamless ridesharing coverage across their markets
RIDE-sharing and taxi-hailing startups GrabTaxi (known as MyTeksi in its home market of Malaysia), Didi Kuaidi, Lyft and Ola have announced partnerships that expand the global rideshare agreement Lyft and Didi Kuaidi formed in September.
Under the terms, the companies will collaborate and leverage each other’s technology, local market knowledge, and business resources so that international travellers can seamlessly access local on-demand rides by using the same application they use at home, they said in a joint statement.
Each company will handle mapping, routing and payments through a secure API (application programming interface). Joint partner products will start rolling out in the first quarter of 2016.
Together, these companies now cover nearly all of South-East Asia, India, China and the United States, and said they reach nearly 50% of the world’s population.
The global partnership follows Softbank Corp’s US$250-million investment in GrabTaxi in December, 2014. Earlier that year, in October, SoftBank had also invested US$210 million in Ola.
Meanwhile this September, GrabTaxi announced its largest ever round of funding of over US$350 million from US technology investment firm Coatue Management LLC, China’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC), and Didi Kuaidi, a rival service also funded by CIC.
Collectively, GrabTaxi, Didi Kuaidi, Lyft and Ola have raised more than US$7 billion, the companies said in their joint statement.
Kuala Lumpur-founded GrabTaxi began with the MyTeksi taxi-hailing app in 2012, but has extended its product platform to include private car services (GrabCar), motorcycle taxis (GrabBike), social carpooling (GrabHitch) and last-mile delivery (GrabExpress).
It has since moved its headquarters to Singapore, and currently offers services across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand through its mobile app platform, which has been downloaded more than 9 million times.
“We are pleased to help Didi, Lyft and Ola offer transportation services in South-East Asia where the significant diversity of language, culture and social practices across the region can be challenging for foreign companies to navigate,” said GrabTaxi chief executive officer (CEO) Anthony Tan (pic below).
“We admire all three companies and have similar goals to improve the lives of drivers and passengers, while also helping to solve major transportation challenges for the long term.
“Under this umbrella, we see many opportunities to share ideas and best practices – from product innovations to driver support, technology developments and approaches for managing local operations in a rapidly-scaling organisation,” he added.
Didi Kuaidi says it operates in 360 Chinese cities, with services ranging from taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing, chauffeur, bus travel, and enterprise solutions. It claims it holds over 80% of the private car service market and over 99% of the taxi hailing service market in China.
“As Didi Kuaidi consolidates market leadership across all main verticals, we are now focused on applying more refined big data tools to further develop product innovation and enhance the user experience,” said its CEO Cheng Wei.
“The partnership with GrabTaxi, Lyft, and Ola allows Chinese users unprecedented ease of international travel, and helps each of us improve our own services, leveraging our collective technology and expertise.
Lyft, founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer, is the fastest growing rideshare company in the United States and is available in more than 190 cities.
“We’re excited to join with GrabTaxi, Didi Kuaidi, and Ola to make global travel simpler for passengers,” said Zimmer.
“Together they will allow Lyft to offer the world’s best coverage, while building upon our shared vision of reconnecting communities through better transportation,” he added.
Founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola (formerly Olacabs) operates across 102 cities and claims over 350,000 vehicles (cabs, auto-rickshaws and taxis) on its platform.
“This [partnership] will allow all four companies to learn from each other’s local innovations and successes that can help us in our shared mission to build better mobility solutions in our respective markets,” said Bhavish.
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