SAN FRANCISCO, In a calculated effort to override popular transportation app Uber, Lyft announced Thursday a global partnership expanding its services to 50 percent of the world’s population.
Starting early next year, travelers and locals alike will find the Uber competitor not only in China through partnership with Didi Kuaidi, but also Southeast Asia and India through similar apps GrabTaxi and Ola.
“By establishing strategic partnerships with local market leaders Didi, GrabTaxi and Ola, we’re able to remove many of the pain points and language barriers that often come with foreign travel,” the company said in its announcement.
Customers can utilize their local apps in order to gain access to the services of others in the alliance, effectively minimizing the time needed to download and register new local apps when traveling.
“The idea is not to merge and acquire but to find people we can worth with,” a spokesperson from Didi Kuaidi said, according to TechCrunch. “In China we have an urban population of 800 million but we are only currently service 250 million, so we have a lot of room to grow, and this population will always be our priority.”
First partner Didi, with which Lyft signed agreements in September, reports nearly 100 million Chinese citizens travel abroad every year, highlighting the need for a smooth transition of ride apps. The country sees about 2 million U.S. visitors every year.
“We admire all three companies and have similar goals to improve the lives of drivers and passengers,” said GrabTaxi CEO Anthony Tan in a statement. GrabTaxi operates in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The companies come together in order to actively compete with Uber, which works in 67 markets around the world.
In a statement, Didi CEO Cheng Wei added, “This is a win for the diversity and vitality of the global ride-share industry.”