The new anti-Uber group allow users to use their favorite ride-share app when traveling in partner-operated markets. The relationship is explained more in-depth in a press release,
[I]nternational travelers can seamlessly access local on-demand rides by using the same application they use at home. Each company will handle mapping, routing and payments through a secure API, providing the best global experience for the millions of travelers that cross between the U.S., Southeast Asia, India and China every year.
As the industry leader and MVP of the ride-share ecosystem, it’s not surprising the level of hate hurled towards Uber. It feels like a familiar scene from the 2004 film Mean Girls in the moment when Ms. Norbury asks, “Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George?” In this case, you can substitute Uber for Regina George.
Uber faces opposition from traditional cab companies, legislators, regulators, and American states including the state of Nevada.
One can wonder the ‘coincidence’ that the same day news hit the wires that Uber was raising another round that leaders at other ride-sharing companies announced their new partnership? Deemed the “most valuable private technology company on paper,” Uber already raised $8.21B and is currently, in the process of raising another $2.1B. Meanwhile, Lyft, Didi Kuaidi, GrabTaxi, and Ola collectively raised $7 billion.
This new global expansion partnership with other companies is a particularly smart move for Lyft. It was only a few months ago Lyft raised money to compete with Uber in the United States after underperforming on several key financials: revenue, money, and customer acquisition. Instead of having to conduct costly market research to open up shop in new markets, Lyft & Co. can direct their users to their local partners. Even though it trails Uber in the ride-share arena at the no. 2 spot, having access to the user data from the global partnership initiative with its Asia Pacific peers may provide Lyft with valuable data about potential markets to compete with Uber.
Lyft also recognizes that at least for right now, to stay in its lane in terms of competing with global expansion against Uber. By strategically aligning with territory experts and Uber’s key competitors in Asia Pacific, Lyft is able to compete by association and more importantly, stay relevant to its users. This time last year, Uber raised $1.2B to compete in the Asia Pacific region against many of the companies that are now Lyft’s collaborative partners. However, right now, Didi Kuaidi, GrabTaxi, and OlaCab all hold significantly larger market shares than Uber in their respective regions. Presumably, Lyft execs thought this move could convince users to not abandon ship aka switch over to Uber during their travels.
But what is often neglected in the game of thrones fight for customers whether it is taxis, ride-share apps, what happens to the customers who cannot afford the ride-share options? Dollar vans and other carpooling systems existed long before Uber and Lyft were even conceived.
Will the ride-share ecosystem continue to thrive despite calls for regulation? Only time will tell if the ride-share coup against Uber will be successful. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if and how these massive companies will appeal to audiences whose only option is public transportation.
Annis Sands is passionate about media + tech + innovation + art + education. She is also the co-creator of Ivy Startup Magazine (ivystartupmag.com).