Lyft may be preparing to take its ride-hailing service global, its first expansion beyond its US home turf and an important step in its competition with Uber, according to a new report from CNBC.
Citing a source familiar with the plans, CNBC reported that Lyft has international ambitions, as evidenced by its updates to its international partnerships today.
The ride-hailing company has been in an international alliance with fellow Uber-rivals Ola, Didi, and Grab, which operate in India, China, and Southeast Asia respectively. Previously as part of their partnership, visitors from those countries to the US could open their native ride-hailing app and be able to hail a Lyft without needing to download a new app for the country they were visiting.
Now, a message will prompt international users to download the Lyft app separately — a move seen as an indicator it could be looking to enter those markets with its own service as well.
According to CNBC, an announcement of its global ambitions is expected sometime this year. For the past five years, Lyft has operated strictly within the US while Uber has gone global, operating in over 70 countries around the world. Lyft’s president John Zimmer called 2016 a “breakout” year for the company after it tripled its rides from 53 million in 2015 to 160 million this last year.
Lyft declined to comment.