Remember the global, ‘anti-Uber’ taxi alliance we talked about as early as January ? Well its now official. India’s Ola, China’s Didi Kuaidi Joint Co., US-based Lyft and Singapore-based GrabTaxi have now officiated the global taxi alliance to collectively take on Uber, the multi billionaire taxi hailing service provider which has single handedly been playing them all in their individual territory.
The alliance though, is no surprise to anyone — neither uber, nor us. It was already in nascent stage since the beginning of this year. Certain executives from rival taxi-hailing apps had then said, that Softbank Capital has helped to create this potential global taxi alliance. And it is in fact obvious too. Softbank recently invested millions into two Asian tax-hailing services. It invested a $250 Million in GrabTaxi and a $210 Million in India’s Ola Cabs.
However it might not just be Softbank solo play, China’s largest cab aggregation service has an even larger role. Didi Kuaidi and Didi Dache first merged themselves into a single entity, by creating one mammooth of a cab hailing company — Didi Chuxing — which again galloped Billions and further invested in Uber’s US rival Lyft and the Indian rival Ola. You see — it has been more of a completely cycled chain.
The alliance, which will officially kick off its operations in first quarter of next year, will allow customers to book rides on the apps of these four companies whenever they are travelling to India, China, the US, Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia.
For instance, if you are a Ola member and you happen to travel to China from India, you will not have to install the fresh application for local cab services and go through the sign up procedure. You can still book Didi Dache through app itself with no new account.
Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola –
This (partnership) 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.
Interestingly, Uber’s fund raising is far more than the collective fund raise of all the four parties forming the alliance. Ola, Didi Kuaidi, Lyft and GrabTaxi have raised more than $7 billion while Uber has raised close to $10 billion since starting out in 2009.
This is not the first time though, that cab service are taking huge leaps to fight against Uber, which has never failed to lure customers and heavy fundings despite numerous legal issues. In February, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, two of China’s largest cab services, announced a merger called Didi Kuaidi, to put a strong competition against Uber.
Cheng Wei, chief executive 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. 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 ride-share industry.
This alliance isn’t just limited to Asian taxi-hailing start-ups. FlyWheel, which is a San Francisco based ride-hailing company that connects riders to existing taxi drivers is also a partner in this alliance.
This ‘global alliance is sure to hurt Uber’s markets. However, the reasons for this damage won’t just be the ‘global alliance’. It is also the legal troubles which Uber has run into lately. Though it recently received a huge $600 Million ‘strategic partnership’ from Baidu, it still runs under enormous ambiguity as the Chinese Government is set to take a tougher stance on taxi-hailing services.