Didi and Lyft activate new U.S. service in bid to rival Uber

Didi Kuaidi launched the public beta version of its Didi Chuxing app that will use roaming to make Didi’s ride-hailing service available in the U.S. on Tuesday. Chinese visitors to the country can now avail themselves of Didi’s ride-hailing services through a partnership with Lyft that will make use of Lyft’s driver network in nearly 200 U.S. cities. Lyft users will have similar access to Didi’s services in over 400 cities in China in Q2 2016.

Senior director of Didi’s international strategy Li Zijian said that, considering the annual five to 10 million trips between China and the United States, demands from outbound travelers and businessmen are huge.

Aiming to provide a seamless cross-border urban mobility experience, the roaming product allows Didi users to get a Lyft driver using their native Didi app by following the exact same steps on the Chinese user interface. Payment in RMB can be charged via existing in-app payment options including WeChat and Alipay at official exchange rates. Third-party human Chinese-English translation is also available to facilitate driver-passenger communication, and the commission for drivers remains the same.

Lyft and Didi initiated their strategic collaboration last September with Didi investing USD 100 million in Lyft to compete with Uber in the U.S. Lyft then partnered with Ola from India and GrabTaxi from Singapore to further enhance its international presence in December, by which time all four parties stated they would jointly build a global rideshare ecology that covers 50% of world’s population.

While Didi claims to hold over 87% of the private car service market in China, Lyft captures over 40% of the ride-hailing market share in the United States. By sharing necessary information to connect passengers with drivers, the two giant transportation networks seem to be doing well on internationalization.

(Top photo from Tencent Finance)

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