China’s most popular ride-hailing service Didi Kuaidi, in yet another effort to slow Uber’s march in Asia, invested in Indian ride-sharing app Ola.
Ola, which has about an 80 per cent share of India’s taxi-hailing business, has raised an estimated $500 million from Didi, SoftBank, Falcon Edge, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Tiger Global Management, Reuters reported. Didi didn’t disclose the size of its investment.
The move comes just weeks after Didi formed a strategic partnership with ride-sharing service Lyft to “make it easier for people to get reliable rides when they travel between the US and China”. The Chinese firm invested $100 million in US-based Lyft as part of a financing round led by Rakuten earlier this year that also included Carl Icahn, Alibaba and Tencent.
Didi in August also invested in Southeast Asian transport app GrabTaxi, which raised more than $350 million. GrabTaxi said it has 110,000 drivers on its platform with 11 bookings made per second.
Ola completes more than 750,000 rides per day, the company said in a statement.
Uber also is moving aggressively into India. Last month Tata Group’s investment fund announced plans to make a “significant investment” in Uber, which reportedly was close to $100 million. Uber said it plans to average more than one million rides a day in India over the next six to nine months, Reuters said.
Uber also is investing heavily in China to try to break into the market dominated by Didi, which has about a 95 per cent market share.
Uber has reportedly raised $1.2 billion in an ongoing fundraising round, led by search giant Baidu, to expand in China, while Didi has raised $3 billion.
Uber announced plans in June to expand its car-booking service into 50 new Chinese cities from its current 11. It started operations in China in February last year and said in June its business has doubled over the past month, with almost one million trips a day in May.
Didi operates in 360 cities, with as many as 1.5 million drivers, and claims more than 200 million users, who take about four million trips a day using the service.