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Lyft Expands Global Alliance to Fight Off Uber

December 3, 2015, 10:02 PM UTC
One Third Of San Francisco Cabbies Switch To Ridesharing Services
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 21: A Lyft car drives along Montgomery Street on January 21, 2014 in San Francisco, California. As ridesharing services like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar become more popular, the San Francisco Cab Driver Association is reporting that nearly one third of San Francisco's licensed taxi drivers have stopped driving taxis and have started to drive for the ridesharing services. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

In its quest to fight off Uber, ride-hailing company Lyft and three similar overseas services have forged a mega-alliance that spans nine countries.

Lyft is now allied with Ola in India, GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, and Didi Kuaidi in China.

In short, it’s an expansion of an international partnership Lyft and Didi Kuaidi announced in September that lets their respective passengers book cabs through each other’s services when traveling. Now, users of all four companies will be able to get rides when overseas without having to download a new app.

For example, U.S. Lyft users who travel to China can continue to use the Lyft app—no need to figure out a new one with a different language—to book a ride with Didi Kuaidi. In Singapore, they can book a GrabTaxi ride through their Lyft app without taking any extra steps.

The expanded alliance is not exactly a surprise. The Wall Street Journal reported had reported in September that the partnerships were in the works.

The four partners are hoping their combined market share can is significant enough to combat Uber, the industry leader. Although Lyft is the No. 2 player in the U.S., Ola, Didi Kuadi, and GrabTaxi are the leaders in their respective markets.

Didi Kuaidi provides 7 million rides across 360 Chinese cities daily, and the company claims it has 83% marketshare in the country. In Southeast Asia, GrabTaxi says it gets 1.5 million ride bookings daily across six countries while Ola receives more than 1 million ride requests daily across 102 cities in India.

This quartet of companies also share some investors, including Tiger Global Management and SoftBank. The latter is said to have helped to encourage the alliance among the Asia-based companies, according to a report from BuzzFeed in January.

The article also said that Flywheel, a San Francisco company that provides Uber-like software for traditional taxis, has held discussions about a similar partnership. Along with being an operational partner, Didi Kuaidi is also an investor in Lyft: it contributed $100 million in funding last spring.

What remains to be seen is whether Lyft and its allies will do something similar in Europe, Latin America, and Australia, where there are few, if any, potential partners. A Lyft spokeswoman told Fortune that “it will be a case-by-case basis whether we launch Lyft or cultivate partnerships in international markets—but we don’t have specific plans for any of those markets to share at this time.”

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