Uber's rivals just got a little closer

Didi Kuaidi has invested in Indian ride-hailing app Ola

Close on the heels of its US$100 million investment in Lyft, Chinese ride-hailing app giant Didi Kuaidi has invested an undisclosed amount in Ola, the leading ride-hailing app in India.

Didi Kuaidi recently said it had invested in another ride-hailing company, Malaysia-based GrabTaxi.

While the deals have been described as involving sharing technology and market knowledge, they are being seen as responses by these companies to moves by Uber Technologies in the region, including its announcement of plans to invest $1 billion in India.

Uber said last week it was testing a new carpooling service, called UberCommute in Chengdu, China. It said it would roll out the service in other markets as well.

"We look forward to exchanging learnings from two of the worlds largest markets and the tremendous synergies this partnership can bring, towards our commitment of building mobility for a billion Indians," Ola said about the new deal in a statement Monday.

Didi Kuaidi said it looked forward to share technologies and jointly develop products with Ola, which is owned and operated by ANI Technologies.

The partnership between the two companies could also probably take the form of the deal between Didi Kuaidi and Lyft, which will allow users of one platform to access the  services of the other provider when traveling in each other's turf.

Uber did not immediately comment on the development.

Ola has previously consolidated its business by acquiring a smaller Indian rival TaxiForSure for $200 million. The company is also under investigation by the Competition Commission of India on charges from a rival that it spends more on rides, by providing incentives to riders and drivers, than it really earns on the trip.

The funding from Didi Kuaidi could help Ola in a cut-throat and competitive market where a number of companies are burning cash for market share.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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