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A Chinese rival to ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft may be about to set up shop in North America.
According to Reuters’ sources, Didi Chuxing plans to expand its app-based service to Mexico in 2018, the first time the company would be operating outside of China.
Didi has said that its goal is to expand outside of China though the company is yet to say where and when such a move would happen. The company says it is keen to capitalize on the millions of Chinese who travel overseas each year and require transport. According to Reuters, Didi managed to raise $5.5 billion in April to fund its global expansion.
Uber famously lost out to Didi in the Chinese market in 2016, with Uber ending up selling its Chinese unit to the rival firm. As part of the deal, Uber controls 17.7 percent percent of the merged companies. Uber currently has about seven million users in Mexico spread across 45 cities, so there is a lot at stake.
Didi also has investments in other ridesharing companies like Lyft, Brazil’s 99, India’s Ola, Estonia’s Taxify, and the Middle East’s Careem.
Didi is backed by fellow Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, both of which have expanded recently into the automotive industry. Didi has also received a $1 billion investment from Apple. As of 2016, it handles more than 11 million rides a day and serves about 300 million customers spread across 400 cities in China.
And like its rivals, Didi is developing self-driving technology for future driverless taxi fleets. The company is also investing in charging infrastructure for electric cars.
It’s only a matter of time now until the ridesharing company reaches the United States.