China’s Didi Kuaidi Confirms Investment In India’s Ola As Uber Rivalry Heats Up

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

China’s Didi Kuaidi Confirms Investment In India’s Ola As Uber Rivalry Heats Up.

Didi Kuaidi, an Uber rival based in China, has today confirmed that it has invested in Ola, another Uber rival based out of India, as part of Ola’s latest round of funding. A spokesperson for Didi tells us the company is not disclosing the amount it is investing but the Times of India, quoting sources, earlier this month reported Didi’s investment and put the figure at $30 million.

As Uber continues to scale up its app-based transport business globally on the back of funding of at least $8.2 billion and a $50 billion valuation (Uber China, a separate entity, has raised at least $1.2 billion of its own), Didi continues to focus on its home market of China for its own business. Then, in a bid to match Uber internationally, Didi is putting significant funds into Uber competitors in other countries that also remain focused on their local strategies. “Didi Kuaidi believes both India and China are rapidly developing countries with enormous market potentials,” the company said in a statement on the investment. “Didi Kuaidi looks to engage local industry champions like Ola to share technology and best practices in product development and operational expertise – all honed from deep market data-driven operations.” Ola is the third such investment of this kind: Didi has also invested $100 million into Uber’s biggest U.S. competitor, Lyft.

Private rides are the truly massive opportunity in China but this is still in a grey area legally (lots of offices being raided and drivers being arrested). On top of this, the various national companies have common investors such as Softbank and DST who clearly are also following the same build-local strategy in competition with Uber.

In India, Ola — founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati — claims to have 80% of the market (a percentage Uber strongly disputes), and the company says it completes 750,000 rides each day on its network of 320,000 cars across 100 cities. It also is looking for ways to branch out into the next wave of users and technologies, as evidenced by a recent partnership with LinkedIn to share data on rides and recruitment for new projects. This is before considering the various regulatory battles that Uber and others are facing in local markets against often-strong incumbent taxi lobbies and others.

At the time of our earlier report on Ola’s latest funding, the startup had raised $225 million, with investment already confirmed from Falcon Edge Capital as the lead investor, with Tiger Global Management, Softbank Corp., Hong Kong’s Steadview Capital, Pittsburgh’s ABG Capital and the FII LTR Focus Fund — all previous investors — also involved. The company has also kicked off a leasing plan to encourage more drivers, and it has also just in the last couple of days opened up its APIs so that developers can start to embed Ola ordering functionality into other apps (a move Uber also has made). These employees are either in driver operations (i.e., tech intensive logistics) or community relations (i.e., coordinating and marketing to local populations of riders).

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