China cab-hailer Didi invests in India's Ola

Didi Kuaidi, by investing in taxi-booking firm Ola, joins the Indian firm's other investors in challenging Uber.
Didi Kuaidi, by investing in taxi-booking firm Ola, joins the Indian firm's other investors in challenging Uber.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SHANGHAI/BEIJING • China's most popular ride-hailing app, Didi Kuaidi, said yesterday it has invested in Indian peer Ola, forging a new alliance within a network of companies challenging United States rival Uber Technologies.

Didi joins existing investors, including SoftBank, Falcon Edge, Singapore wealth fund GIC and Tiger Global Management.

A spokesman for Didi declined to specify the size of the investment.

SoftBank is the common investor backing most of the firms that are taking on Uber across Asia and in the United States.

The Japanese telecoms conglomerate already had stakes in Didi, Ola and South-east Asian firm GrabTaxi.

Uber and its biggest rival, Didi, are locked in a subsidy-intensive fight for market share in China, one that is costing each of them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Didi has also invested in Uber's American rival, Lyft, which shares common investors with the other companies, including Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group.

Ola controls 80 per cent of India's taxi-hailing business, and completes more than 750,000 rides a day, according to yesterday's statement.

Last month, Uber said it plans to average more than one million rides a day in India over the next six to nine months as it steps up investments to take on Ola.

Last month, GrabTaxi said it had also raised money from Didi, which recently conducted a US$3 billion (S$4.3 billion) fund-raising round.

Uber and its biggest rival, Didi, are locked in a subsidy-intensive fight for market share in China, one that is costing each of them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Didi now has the lion's share of China's online transportation services, accounting for 99 per cent and 82 per cent of the country's taxi-hailing and ride-on-demand services, respectively.

It has also expanded its offerings to customised shuttle services and carpooling, amid growing competition with Uber and friction with domestic regulators over the legitimacy of its ride-on-demand services.

Didi chief executive officer Cheng Wei said earlier this month that China's sovereign wealth fund China Investment and Ping An Ventures joined its US$3 billion placement, which put the value of the Chinese start-up at US$16.5 billion.

REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2015, with the headline 'China cab-hailer Didi invests in India's Ola'. Print Edition | Subscribe