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China's Didi backs Ola to compete Uber in India


New Delhi, Sep 29: China's ride-hailing app Didi Kuaidi has made investments in Ola, which is looking to ramp up its presence amid aggressive competition from rival Uber.

In February this year, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, two of China's leading taxi-hailing apps, had announced their merger to create one of the world's largest smartphone-based transport services firm "Didi Kuaidi".


However, the company did not disclose the investment amount. Ola has been in talks with investors to raise over USD 500 million (about Rs 3,320 crore).

The funding will help the Indian taxi-aggregator grow in smaller cities and compete head-on with rivals like US-based Uber and home-grown Meru.

"We welcome Didi Kuaidi as an investor in Ola. We look forward to exchange learnings from two of the worlds largest markets and the tremendous synergies this partnership can bring, towards our commitment of building mobility for a billions of Indians," an Ola spokesperson said.

In April this year, Ola had raised USD 400 million (about Rs 2,500 crore) from a clutch of investors led by DST Global. Established in 2012, Kuaidi Group has a peak of six million daily ride requests and focuses on city-bound travel covering nearly 300 cities in China, including Hong Kong. Currently, it operates two branded services -- Kuaidi Taxi and Kuaidi ONE -- which provide taxi and chauffeured limo services, respectively.

Didi Kuaidi is backed by Chinese Internet giants Tencent and Alibaba Group. Earlier this year, the company had invested USD 100 million in San Francisco-based Lyft. Interestingly, Ola and Didi Kuaidi have common investors like SoftBank, DST Global and Tiger Global Management.

Ola has majority market share of India's taxi business with more than 7,50,000 rides a day and and expects to hit the one million milestone soon. It offers services in over 100 cities.

In comparison, Uber plans to average more than 1 million rides a day in India over the next few months as it steps up investments to take on Ola.

Rich with cash, Ola has also been steadily investing across various programmes to grow the driver partner ecosystem. It has also introduced services like shuttle services, expanded mobile wallet, introduced wifi enabled cars and offers a cafe service on its app.


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