Thursday, September 17, 2015

Uber Rivals Form International Alliance

Robert DiBias
            The advent of Uber has caused many unforeseen consequences in both the app and travel industries. In certain cities, it has greatly reduced the number of hailed taxis so much, that now politicians are considering implementing an Uber tax that could range from one to two dollars per ride in Chicago (Berg). Taxi drivers everywhere are enraged over their declining business and Uber’s sudden surge in popularity. However, it isn’t taxi drivers who are doing something about it, it’s other ride-hailing services. San Francisco based Lyft Inc. and Chinese based Didi Kuaidi Joint Co. announced earlier this week that they would be forming an alliance in order to compete with the ride-hailing service juggernaut that is Uber. In order to compete with Uber, these two companies decided to “allow users of each app to hail rides from drivers of the other app while they are traveling to the other country” (MacMillan and Carew).
            This is one of the first times we’ve seen international collaboration in the field of applications. In a year from now when Lyft and Didi apps are finally compatible, Uber will start to see a decline in profits in both domestic and foreign markets. This is because the Lyft-Didi partnership has agreed to collect payment in the user’s own native currency, so they don’t have to deal with paying in foreign money any more. Anyone who has to travel abroad will see this as an easier way to manage traveling in a foreign country. The demographic for this idea can apply to anyone who is traveling for leisure or for business. The amount of business that goes on between the United States and China grows every day, so an app service that simplifies the travel process will definitely catch the eye of any company that has to operate in the other country.
            If the Lyft-Didi business venture pays off, then it could spark an entire era of international application collaboration. The idea started with ride-hailing services, but could expand to potentially any market that is seen both domestically and abroad. The Lyft-Didi team also announced plans for a feature that would “allow American users of Lyft to request an English-speaking driver while visiting China” (MacMillan and Carew). An idea like this could hypothetically break the language barrier, thus enabling almost any business to operate in another country. It will most likely be at least another year until the Lyft-Didi collaboration comes into effect. Until then Uber will probably continue dominating the ride-hailing app market. However, they should still keep their eyes open for any Lyft-Didi activity if they don’t want to lose foreign business in the years to come.

MacMillan, D., & Carew, R. (2015, September 16). Uber Rivals Form International Alliance. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
Berg, A. (2015, September 15). Chicago alderman with taxi ties poised to pass nation’s highest ‘Uber tax’. Retrieved September 16, 2015.


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