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Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

China ride-hailing firm DiDi backs Uber rival Careem

China ride-hailing firm DiDi backs Uber rival Careem

Founded in Dubai in July 2012, Careem serves more than 12 million customers and connects with 250,000 drivers on its platform in more than 80 cities across 13 countries.

DiDi said on Tuesday it would invest in Careem to strengthen its market position across the region.

DiDi's ride-hailing system covers cities representing 60 percent of the world's population in 1,000 cities in North America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America.

The founder of the Japanese technology giant is considering investing in the USA ride-sharing market and is looking at both Uber and Lyft. Users can book a vehicle on the Careem app and website, or by calling its call centre.

"Didi Chuxing brings leading edge AI capabilities, insight and expertise to our organization as we enter our next phase of growth", Careem CEO Mudassir Sheikha said in a press note.

Under the strategic partnership, the two companies - which declined to comment on the size of the investment - will cooperate on smart transportation technology, product development and operations.

"Our domestic markets are Europe and Africa, in that regard we see room for growth in existing cities so that we could grow 10 to 20-fold here", member of Taxify's board Martin Villig told BNS. The Chinese company hopes to tap into regions where the internet economy holds "significant potential", according to Didi founder and chief executive Cheng Wei. The company has widened its global reach through strategic alliances and investments in other major ride-hailing service operators.

Didi, partly owned by Jack Ma's Alibaba company, will invest in Taxify, an Estonian online taxi firm with operations in Nairobi. Softbank is a significant shareholder in China's Didi Chuxing, which pushed Uber out of China, and has holdings in India's Ola, Brazil's 99 and SE Asia-focused Grab.

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