Lyft has received a $100 million investment from Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Kuaidi which will allow users to hail taxis from either company in their native apps in both the U.S. and China.
Didi Kuaidi, China's dominant ride-hailing app with almost 80 percemt of the market according to Analysys International, says that the investment will allow the two services to "leverage each company's technological strengths, product development expertise, rich local market knowledge and vast resources to bring seamless ridesharing to the U.S. and China."
The partnership will allow Chinese visitors to the U.S. to order a Lyft ride through their Didi app paying in their own currency and thus avoiding conversion fees. The Chinese company will then reimburse the U.S. company and vice-versa.
"Didi Kuaidi is excited to form this groundbreaking collaboration with Lyft, the first company to develop a peer-to-peer service," said Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Kuaidi. "From our home base in China, Didi Kuaidi is building China's largest one-stop on-demand transportation service platform. As the industry innovation leader, Lyft will continue to build upon its existing market and brand power."
Lyft is currently available in 65 cities across the U.S. and says it is the fastest growing ride-hailing service in the country, though market leader Uber is operating in over 175 cities in North America and 60 countries around the world in total.
Uber is currently trying to make an impact in China where Didi is the dominant player and while it has quickly grown its market share to 11 percent in the space of nine months, it has also spent $1 billion in doing so, paying huge subsidies to drivers -- which many analysts believe is unsustainable.
The Lyft-Didi partnership will see the companies collaborate on technologies in the future, as well as sharing local knowledge and other "business-related resources to explore new models of cross-platform and cross-regional market development, with an aim to build a healthy, collaborative global ridesharing industry."
Didi's funding was part of a fundraising round led by Rakuten earlier this year that also included activist investor Carl Icahn and Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and Tencent.
Announcing the partnership, John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, said: "Lyft was founded with the mission of connecting people and their communities through improved transportation. We are extremely excited to partner with Didi Kuaidi as they share our commitment to redesign cities putting people at the forefront."