Didi and Careem to ride in 2 markets

Updated 2017-08-09 10:16:29 China Daily

China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing announced on Tuesday that it will invest in Dubai-based ride-hailing platform Careem, as part of a new partnership agreement between the two companies, to grow their networks in the Middle East and North Africa.

It marks Didi's latest move to strengthen the company's global presence, right after it announced a week ago a similar investment in Uber rival Taxify to expand in Europe and Africa.

The two companies on Tuesday said they would cooperate in intelligent transportation technology, product development and operations. Didi declined to reveal the size of the investment in Careem.

"We will tap into the significant potential of the local internet economy and foster more innovative services for a broader network of communities around the world," said Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing.

Careem, founded in Dubai in 2012, provides affordable transportation to more than 12 million customers, with 250,000 drivers in over 80 cities across 13 countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.

Careem CEO and co-founder Mudassir Sheikha, said Didi would bring leading edge AI capabilities, insight and expertise to his company as it enters its next phase of growth.

"It will enable Careem to more effectively pursue growth opportunities through continued innovation and sustainability," Sheikha said.

He added that the cooperation would also provide the region with huge support to develop and leap-frog traditional infrastructure.

Didi has already extended its overseas businesses to more than 1,000 cities across North America, South America, Southeast Asia and South Asia, according to company figures.

Didi is pushing to boost its global presence, mainly through partnerships and investments with global ride-hailing companies. It has invested in Lyft, Grabtaxi, Uber, Taxify and Careem and other ride-hailing platforms from different countries and regions including the United States, India and Brazil.

The company said it would continue to advance its internationalization strategy to bring homegrown innovation from China to new markets in the future.

Zhang Xu, an analyst from Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys, said the recent moves underscored Didi Chuxing's ambitious goal to expand globally.

"With its unique partnerships and investment mode to grow its global networks, Didi will work more efficiently and have a better understanding of the local markets compared with its rival," Zhang said.

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