APAC ride-sharing operators rally in global partnership

China's Didi Kuaidi, Southeast Asia's GrabTaxi and India's Ola, as well as US-based Lyft form a partnership that will see the companies tap each other's technology to offer "seamless" experience for their global travellers.

Four ride-sharing operators, including three from the Asian region, have rallied to form a partnership that will see them tap each other's network and jointly offer services.

Didi Kuaidi, GrabTaxi, Lyft, and Ola said their collaboration meant their services would reach almost all of Southeast Asia, India, China, and the United States, touching nearly half of the world's population. The collaboration expands on a previous agreement formed between Lyft and Didi Kuaidi in September 2015.

The partners would begin offering joint services in the first quarter of 2016.

Under the agreement, the four operators would tap each other's technology, local market knowledge, and business resources. The goal here was to ensure travellers worldwide would be able to seamlessly access on-demand rides in the respective local markets, by using the same app they used in their home market.

Each partner would manage mapping, routing, and payment functions through a secure API (application programming interface), servicing passengers across Southeast Asia, India, China, and the US.

Between them, the partners would have expansive reach and presence across the markets they each covered, according to the companies. Didi Kuaidi currently processes 7 million rides per day in 360 cities in China, where it has 83 percent market share in the private car-sharing segment.

GrabTaxi has 95 percent share of the Southeast Asian third-party taxi-booking market as well as more than 50 percent of the private car-sharing segment. It processes up to 1.5 million bookings a day across six countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

US-based Lyft handles 7 million rides a month in 190 cities, clocking an annual gross run rate of US$1 billion with more than 40 percent market share in San Francisco and Austin. India-owned Ola offers its services in 102 cities across the country, and has more than 350,000 registered vehicles on its platform, handling more than 1 million booking requests daily.

Together, the four operators have raised more than US$7 billion in funds.

Didi Kuaidi CEO Cheng Wei said: "As Didi 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.

"The partnership with Lyft, GrabTaxi, and Ola allows Chinese users unprecedented ease of international travel, and helps each of us improve our own services [by] leveraging our collective technology and expertise," Cheng said.