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China’s biggest ride-hailing company has invested in Uber’s rival in India

UNICORN 2015 — Bhavish Aggarwal ANI Technologies OlacabsUNICORN 2015 — Bhavish Aggarwal ANI Technologies Olacabs
Bhavish AggarwalCourtesy of Olacabs

Uber’s ride-hailing rivals overseas are increasingly banding together to fend off their U.S. challenger.

China’s Didi Kuaidi on Sunday said it has invested in Ola, the biggest ride-hailing company in India. Other investors are Falcon Edge, GIC, Tiger Global Management, and SoftBank, among others.

Didi Kuaidi isn’t shy about teaming up with strategic partners. Earlier this month, it said it had invested $100 million last spring into U.S.-based Lyft, Uber’s main U.S. rival.

As part of that deal, Didi Kuaidi and Lyft will also let their customers book rides through the other, which is planned for next year. The two were also rumored to be working on similar partnerships with Ola and GrabTaxi, the main player in Singapore, though Lyft co-founder John Zimmer declined to answer when asked during a press event to announce the deal with Didi Kuaidi. The Chinese company, however, is already an investor in GrabTaxi, making this multi-national alliance more possible.

Asian countries like India and China have recently become a new focus for ride-hailing companies that are hoping to capitalize on the large populations and low car ownership rates. In China, for example, there are 100 cities with populations of 1 million or more, but less than 10% of the population owns a car, according to Didi Kuaidi. Not surprisingly then, Uber announced earlier this year that it plans to invest at least $1 billion into its expansion in India, and the same amount in China, and is well along in its fundraising goals.

Didi Kuaidi’s investment in Ola comes after reports earlier this month that Ola had raised $226 million of a $500 million funding round. The deal valued Ola at $5 billion, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

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