A game-changing solution has arrived for Chinese tourists requiring transportation while abroad in the form of an alliance between the domestic powerhouse Didi Kuaidi and its American equivalent, Lyft.
This Monday, the two ride-hailing services announced that their partnership is now online meaning that Didi Kuaidi riders can use the app to hail rides from Lyft while traveling in the U.S — and vice versa for Lyft users in China soon.
Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, the industry’s global leader, previously denied the significance of such an alliance between his competitors. Geektime reports that during an interview, Kalanick confidently dismissed the threat:
The anti-Uber alliance is not a corporation or identity, it’s an idea. They can have coffee together on Sundays, I guess.
Already, Uber has faced quite a few hurdles to success in the Chinese market, including roadside arrests and even office raids. Reported to be losing $1 billion USD a year in China (which is just fine with Kalanick), Uber now has even greater reason to address the potential of the alliance.
Especially considering that Lyft has also been teaming up with other regional counterparts like Grab in Southeast Asia and India’s Ola. A spokesperson for Didi summed it up this way: “We’re looking at up to 20 million passengers being exchanged among the four markets.”
The integration of the two company’s services means clients don’t have to set up a new account or share credit card information with an unfamiliar company. In China, payment will be simplified by automatically converting fares into Chinese currency and offering payment services via Alibaba and Tencent. According to CCTV America, Didi Kuaidi also promises translation services to assist in communicating with drivers.
Your move, Uber.
CORRECTION: Wait! Don’t try to start Lyfting in China just yet, it turns out they haven’t quite worked out all the kinks. The service will start operation in China “in the coming weeks” says Kristina Gibson, head of international prodcuts at Lyft. (h/t Tech in Asia)
By Matthew Patel