Lyft and Didi on new mission to build integrated service for China and U.S.

John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft (Photo from Tencent Tech)

John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, has been making frequent trips to China to firm up Lyft’s strategic partnership with Didi Chuxing since the announcement of Didi’s USD 100 million investment in Lyft back in September.

November 2 marks Zimmer’s third trip to China in two months. His goal for this trip is to further discuss how to integrate the two ride-hailing apps, so that customers from both sides of the Pacific can book rides and seamlessly use the GPS and payment systems.

Lyft and Didi are both speeding up the integration and hope to release the integrated service in the first half of 2016, Zimmer says in an interview with Tencent Tech. Zimmer said he used Didi’s service the last three times he was in China and hopes to use Lyft in China soon.

China is Lyft’s first international market. Zimmer said that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing app does not have plans to expand to other overseas markets just yet. Zimmer says Lyft’s target market is still in the U.S. Lyft aims to gain more than 40% of the market share in all American cities by the end of 2016. Zimmer said Didi will use funding and strategies to support this goal.

Lyft is Uber’s close rival in the U.S. and Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick has said in response to Didi’s investment in Lyft that he didn’t see the upside for Didi. According to Tencent Tech, 30% of Uber’s business comes from China. Uber’s China North District General Manager Zhang Yanqi told Tencent Tech that China will become Uber’s biggest market by the end of 2015.

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