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Lyft’s new partnership could help you hail a ride in China more easily

By Koh Wanzi - on 17 Sep 2015, 6:13pm

Lyft’s new partnership could help you hail a ride in China more easily

Image Source: Lyft

Taxi drivers going on strike? Uber drivers being assaulted and prosecuted? Ridesharing may be a rapidly growing industry, but that doesn’t mean it has been all smooth-sailing. And then there’s the issue of cross-border travel. How do you navigate the thorny issue of currency conversions? That’s what Lyft’s new partnership is about. The US ridesharing firm has announced a partnership with Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest ridesharing company, that could see benefits for both US and Chinese customers.

The partnership is part of a new “Rides Everywhere” initiative, under which US and Chinese passengers would be able to pay for rides in their own currency. For instance, an American visiting China would be able to use the Lyft app to request a Didi vehicle and pay in US dollars. The reverse applies for Chinese travelers as well.

It’s clear how this might benefit customers. Because Lyft and Didi have limited footprints in each other's markets, their cooperation would help their own customers hail rides far more easily by tapping into the other’s resources. Furthermore, it allows the companies access to the other’s customer base.

Of course, there's no ignoring the global force that is Uber, which currently operates in 60 countries, including Singapore. It remains to be seen if this partnership could mark the start of smaller ridesharing companies partnering with each other to challenge Uber's dominance.

Lyft and Didi customers will have to wait though as the apps will not be compatible with each other until next year, and both companies are also reportedly considering a feature to allow US users to request an English-speaking driver in China.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Lyft and Didi are also in talks with Singapore’s own GrabTaxi and India’s Ola to expand the alliance. Could we soon use GrabTaxi to hail a cab in Shanghai and pay in Singapore dollars? That certainly sounds good to us.

Source: Lyft Blog via Wall Street Journal

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