The pair “will share knowledge in intelligent transportation technology, product development, and operations,” a statement said.
There is no indication about how much investment for how big a stake Didi has made. Didi raised $5.5 billion in a Series E which closed this April and has been even more active in the market since then.
Careem itself is hardly bootstrapping. It has raised $570 million dollars since its launch in 2012. It announced a $350 million round at the end of 2016, led by Japan’s Rakuten. Rakuten is also an investor in Lyft, as indeed is Didi.
Didi also has its eye on the niche, smaller players, and last week announced a tie-up with Estonia-based Taxify, a business which has grown on the back of €2.5 million funding, a modest amount compared to the billions bandied about elsewhere.
Careem’s footprint extends to more than 80 cities across 13 countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco in addition to its Middle East/UAE presence. It has 250,000 drivers on its books and claims to have 12 million customers.
The Careem tie-up means that Didi is now a truly global player. “[Our] global framework of collaboration now extends to over 60% of the world’s population across 1,000 cities in North America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America,” it says.
Reports elsewhere continue talking in terms of Didi as an Uber rival, perhaps to give general readers a reference point. But with more than half the world’s population now a tap away from getting a ride from Didi or one of its partners, the Chinese business deserves a presence on its own terms, not through the lens of a competitor.
It may or may not be a co-incidence that Didi’s flurry of activity over the past few months has occurred while Uber continues its search for a new CEO. And while Uber prevaricates over a new boss, Didi is racing ahead, building up a truly global network.