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Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi's rapid global expansion

By Zhu Lingqing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-09-05 13:50

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi's rapid global expansion

Cheng Wei, Didi Chuxing founder and CEO. [Photo/IC]

Chinese ride-hailing juggernaut Didi Chuxing has invested in the world's top seven ride-hailing platforms in the past two years, according to a report by ifeng.com.

Didi founder and chief executive officer Cheng Wei said China was leading the world in online transportation service so internationalization was the most important strategic next step.

Didi has invested in Brazilia's 99, India's Ola, Estonia-based Taxify that operates in Europe and Africa, Careem in Middle East, Southeast Asia's Grab and Uber, as well as Uber's US rival Lyft.

Cheng, who attended the Business Forum of the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province on Monday said Didi aims at a future-oriented win-win cooperation rather than a zero-sum game.

He said the internationalization Didi desires is not competitive-oriented but cooperation-oriented.

"Instead of competing with local companies or overturning local traditional industries, what we look forward to is exporting the innovative models and technologies in solving traffic problems that we have learned in China in the past years, as well as capital cities," Cheng explained.

As an example, he said Didi's engineer group in Brazil has greatly advanced the local online transport service.

In January, the company signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Brazil's leading ride-sharing firm 99, becoming a strategic investor and taking a seat on its board of directors.

Besides capital, Didi promised it will provide strategic support to 99 such as technology, products, operational experience and business planning, helping the company expand markets in Brazil and Latin America, according to a report by National Business Daily.

Since investing in Indian ride-sharing leader Ola in September 2015, Didi has partnered with Ola in exploring products and technologies, as well as sharing experiences in big data algorithms and business operations, tech.163.com reported.

Back in August 2015, Didi invested in Grab, the taxi-hailing app that rivals Uber in Southeast Asia. That was its first investment in the ride-hailing sector and the first step of the Beijing-based company's global expansion.

Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan said Didi and Grab respect each other like brothers and this kind of partnership ensures the company serves the local market better, the Wall Street Journal reported, National Business Daily cited.

The past two years experience has made Cheng realize the speed of the Chinese new economy's global expansion is faster than other traditional industries.

"China will lead the world in the sharing economy and become the center of transportation reform in the following 10 years," Cheng expected.

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