Uber CEO Travis Kalanick claims he’s not losing sleep over the growing international alliance between his rivals, but maybe he will now.
That’s because it’s all been hypothetical until this point. On Monday, Lyft and China’s ride-hailing company Didi Kuaidi announced that their partnership is officially online.
Beginning with a public beta, Didi users visiting the US can open their Didi app to hail a Lyft. They don’t need to worry about setting up a new account, paying in a foreign currency, or not knowing how to tell their driver where to go.
It’s starting with Didi riders visiting the US, but soon the integration will be live across all of the partners in the alliance, including Singapore’s Grab and India’s Ola. That means US travellers visiting Singapore will be able to use the Lyft app during their travels, and vice versa.
The partnership officially going live is a reminder of the two different strategies ride-hailing companies are taking when it comes to going international.
Uber is reportedly losing $1 billion a year to try to compete with Didi Kuaidi in China — and that doesn’t include its other battles throughout southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Lyft, meanwhile, decided to strike up these international partnerships in 2015 instead of forging into new markets itself. The partnerships mean that people can keep returning to Lyft’s app for a ride, even if they’re in China or India.
In an interview with the Times of India in January, Uber’s CEO did not mince words when it came to debunking the mythical threat this alliance poses.
“The anti-Uber alliance is not a corporation or identity, it’s an idea. They can have coffee together on Sundays, I guess,” Kalanick told the Times of India.
Now that Didi users can choose Lyft over Uber, the partnership may be a little more serious.