Toyota invests $600m in Didi and signs smart fleet management joint venture

The move expands the service collaboration agreement that was previously agreed to by the two companies.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Toyota has invested $600 million in Chinese car-hailing platform Didi Chuxing as part of an expanded Mobility-as-a-Service collaboration agreement the two companies have in place in China. 

Under the deal, Toyota and Didi will also enter into a joint venture with GAC Toyota Motor -- a joint venture between Toyota and China's GAC Group -- to provide vehicle-related services for Didi's drivers network. 

"Didi is committed to helping our cities achieve new energy and smart transportation goals with partners from home and abroad," said Didi senior vice president, Stephen Zhu.

"We look forward to combining Didi's expertise in AI-based large-scale mobility operations and Toyota's leading connected vehicle technology to build a next-generation intelligent transportation framework for sustainable cities."

Read more: Uber launches free ride voucher program to help businesses attract and retain customers (TechRepublic)

At the start of last year, Toyota and Didi collaborated on e-Palette, a fully-automated battery electric vehicle. They have also piloted vehicle-related services for Didi's drivers through Toyota's mobile services platform's intelligent analysis capabilities to provide drivers with safe driving guidance and vehicle maintenance support.

Toyota invested a handsome $500 million in Uber last August to jointly develop self-driving vehicle technologies as part of a wider partnership between the two companies. 

Earlier this year, Didi, which owns around 80 percent of ride-sharing market in China, announced it would lay off around 2,000 staff, or 15% of its entire workforce this year.

Didi's strategic change came after the company reportedly lost 10.9 billion yuan in 2018, which was much worse than the 2.5 billion yuan loss from the year prior. The huge loss last year largely came from its subsidies to drivers, which reached 11.3 billion yuan in 2018, according to the reports. 

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