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Lyft Joins With Asian Rivals to Compete With Uber

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John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, and Jean Liu, president of DiDi Kuaidi, announced an earlier partnership in September. Credit Stephen Yang for The New York Times

The anti-Uber global alliance of ride-hailing companies has now officially taken shape.

On Thursday, Lyft, a ride-hailing start-up based in the United States, announced a coalition with GrabTaxi, Ola and Didi Kuaidi, three of the largest ride-hailing companies in Asia. Under their partnership, the companies can operate in each others’ home countries, forging new pathways for each in markets they have yet to tap into.

“This is the right international expansion strategy — for us, our users and our investors,” said John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft, which is based in San Francisco and operates entirely within the United States.

The alliance takes aim at Uber, the world’s largest ride-hailing company. Uber, which is currently seeking funding at a valuation of more than $ 60 billion, operates in 67 countries and has become synonymous with the business of people ordering rides from their smartphones.

Many of Uber’s competitors are far smaller and operate in just one or two markets. By banding together, the companies aim to achieve more scale and more service adoption in relatively short amounts of time. Partnerships are less expensive than having to spend to establish operations in multiple markets.

The companies declined to reveal financial details of their partnership.

The alliance has been forming over the last few months. In September, Lyft teamed with Didi Kuaidi, the Chinese ride-hailing behemoth, to provide service to Chinese Didi Kuaidi app users who enter the United States. The move also let Lyft users find rides in China using the Lyft app; the requests are fulfilled by Didi Kuaidi drivers.

Ola is a ride-hailing company in India, and GrabTaxi operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Under the partnership, Lyft users traveling to India will be able to open up the Lyft app in India and be served local rides supplied by Ola. In Southeast Asian countries, Lyft will have a similar arrangement with GrabTaxi.

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