Yahoo co-founder joins Didi Kuaidi as adviser

Uber yesterday said it has received the green light to operate in Jakarta (left), after giving assurances that it would comply with local tax rules and other requirements.
Uber yesterday said it has received the green light to operate in Jakarta (left), after giving assurances that it would comply with local tax rules and other requirements.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He is a director of Alibaba which backs ride-hailing app firm; move seen as an alliance against Uber

BEIJING • Didi Kuaidi has appointed Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang as a senior adviser to the ride-hailing app firm as it battles Uber Technologies for market share in China.

Mr Yang, an independent director of  Alibaba Group which backs Didi Kuaidi, will also be an observer on the board, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Yang's new positions at Didi Kuaidi add another link in the web of relations between the Chinese ride-hailing company and its investors, Alibaba and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp.

Mr Yang, Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son all sit on the board of Alibaba.

SoftBank was also an early investor in both Yahoo and the Chinese e-commerce behemoth, and the three men maintain close ties.

Their "bromance" has now been extended to Didi Kuaidi, the biggest ride-hailing rival to Uber.

SoftBank also owns stakes in other ride-hailing services that have forged a global anti-Uber alliance, namely India's Ola and South-east Asia's GrabTaxi. Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba also own stakes in the US arm of this faction, Lyft.

Meanwhile, in Jakarta yesterday, Uber said it has received the green light to operate in the Indonesian capital after giving assurances that it would comply with local tax rules and other requirements.

Jakarta police had earlier this year deemed the US car-hailing service illegal, saying its drivers did not pay the correct taxes and the company did not have the licence needed to operate as a form of public transport.

In a statement, Uber said it is working with the office of the city's governor, Mr Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, and Indonesia's investment coordinating board to establish itself as a legal entity in Indonesia, pay taxes, have adequate insurance and ensure its "partner vehicles" undergo regular inspection.

"Previously there was tremendous regulatory ambiguity," Uber spokesman Karun Arya said. "Governor Ahok has now provided clear direction for Uber in terms of specific requirements for Uber and other ride-sharing platforms to operate and thrive in Jakarta."

Uber has registered with Indonesia's investment coordinating board as a technology or Web company, Mr Arya added. There was no immediate comment from the Jakarta governor's office.

In Indonesia, Uber also operates in Bali and Bandung.

Privately owned Uber has grown aggressively worldwide with its matchmaker service for drivers and passengers, but a lack of regulation for the relatively new business model has brought it to the attention of the authorities.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2015, with the headline 'Yahoo co-founder joins Didi Kuaidi as adviser'. Print Edition | Subscribe