Ola, two others, team up with China's Didi Kuaidi

Allows to access each others' services using their home app

Ola, two others, team up with China's Didi Kuaidi

Taking the onslaught of Uber head-on, four regional taxi-aggregation players have come up with a global rideshare partnership and plans to roll out products in the first quarter of 2016.

According to a release by Ola, owned by ANI Technologies, the partnership includes Didi Kuaidi (China), Lyft (US), and GrabTaxi, a Singapore-based transportation platform which operates across Southeast Asia.

Through this global alliance, the companies will allow international travelers to seamlessly 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, providing the best global experience for the millions of travelers that cross between India, Southeast Asia, China, and the US every year.

This is an extension of the strategic partnership between Lyft (total funding $1.01 bn) and Didi Kuaidi, earlier in September. Together, these companies now cover nearly all of Southeast Asia, India, China and the United States, reaching nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population.

Incidentally, all four companies are unicorns, a term used to refer to unlisted firms with valuations above $1 billion. Didi Kuaidi (valued at $16.5 bn with funding of $3.74 billion) is Uber’s main rival in China, and is an investor in all the three alliance partners. Didi Kuaidi offers services in 360 Chinese cities.

Commenting on the development, Ola CEO and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal said the company is excited to partner with Lyft, Didi Kuaidi and GrabTaxi, allowing seamless mobility access across hundreds of cities globally for Ola’s combined user base that runs into hundreds of millions.

“This will also 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 Aggarwal.

Ola raised $275 million in November as part of its Series F-III funding round from Scottish investment firm Baillie Gifford and Didi Kuaidi, besides some existing investors. With the latest round of funding, Ola has raised a total external funding of $1.31 billion, and is valued at $5 billion.

Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Kuaidi, said as it consolidates market leadership across all main verticals, the company will now focus on applying more refined Big Data tools to do in-depth product innovation to enhance the user experience.

“The partnership with Lyft, GrabTaxi and Ola allows Chinese users unprecedented ease of international travel, and helps partners improve our own services leveraging each other’s technology and expertise. This will be a win for the diversity and vitality of the global rideshare industry,” said Kuaidi.

According to Grab Taxi (total funding $690 mn)  CEO Anthony Tan all these companies have similar goals to improve the lives of drivers and passengers while 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 said.

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