DiDi invests in Careem to turn up heat on Uber

DiDi invests in Careem to turn up heat on Uber

Dubai - Careem has raised $572 million in funding from a range of investors

By Staff Report

Published: Tue 8 Aug 2017, 1:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Aug 2017, 7:05 PM

Careem on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with the world's largest mobile transportation platform Didi Chuxing.
The leading ride-hailing and internet platform in the Middle East and North Africa said Didi made an investment in Careem to strengthen its leading market position and further enhance its reliable transportation offerings across the region.
"Together, the two parties will share knowledge in intelligent transportation technology, product development, and operations," according to the statement.
DiDi is seeking to turn up the heat on ride-sharing pioneer Uber via a string of partnerships with regional players in Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa and now the Middle East. It has previously done similar deals in Latin America as well as with Uber's US rival Lyft.
Founded five years ago, Dubai-based Careem has 12 million customers in 80 cities ranging from Pakistan to Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. It is ahead of Uber in Pakistan and a strong second player to Uber in other regional markets, according to research firm SimilarWeb, which tracks consumer mobile and web usage habits.
"Didi Chuxing brings leading edge AI capabilities, insight and expertise to our organization as we enter our next phase of growth" said Mudassir Sheikha, CEO and co-founder, Careem.
He said this evolution in our long relationship will enable Careem to more effectively pursue growth opportunities through continued innovation and sustainability.
"DiDi's investment is yet another endorsement of the significant regional opportunity to leap-frog traditional infrastructure and improve the lives of people in our communities."
DiDi's ride-hailing system covers cities representing 60 per cent of the world's population in 1,000 cities in North America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America, it said.
"Growing urban populations and economic and social diversity in the MENA region present enormous opportunities for the ride-hailing economy. "Said Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing.
Over the past few weeks, DiDi has announced a similar investment in Estonian-based ride-hailing firm Taxify to help it to expand in Europe and Africa. DiDi and its backer SoftBank Group have also said they would contribute the bulk of a new $2.5 billion investment into Grab, a major online taxi player in south east Asia.
"Careem is the region's technology and market leader. Through technology exchange and co-development, we look to support continued growth and transformation of the region's transportation industry, tap into the significant potential of the local internet economy and foster more innovative services for a broader network of communities around the world."
Careem has raised $572 million in funding from a range of investors, including a $150 million round led by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding, according to Crunchbase data. German auto maker Daimler and Japan's Rakuten are also investors.
Uber operates in nearly 600 cities in 70 countries and reported it had fare revenues around $20 billion last year. It was Silicon Valley's most valuable private firm when it was last valued at up to $68 billion.
DiDi is the world's second most valuable venture-backed start-up after Uber, having last been valued at $50 billion according to venture investment tracking firm CB Insights, having raised $13 billion in funding over the past five years.
It has 400 million customers in 400 cities in China. DiDi is backed by Chinese Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent and Japan's SoftBank, among others. DiDi acquired Uber's China business a year ago, leaving the US company with a minor stake in DiDi.
Over the past year, Uber has faced regulatory setbacks, employee and driver protests and executive departures, leading to founder Travis Kalanick being pushed aside by the company's board in June.
-   business@khaleejtimes.com

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