Leading China taxi apps to merge
BEIJING (AP) Leading China taxi apps Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache on Saturday announced a plan to merge, creating a new challenge for Uber Technologies Ltd.'s global expansion.
Didi Dache, backed by Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., and Kuaidi Dache, backed by rival Alibaba Group, command about 99 percent of the taxi hailing market in China and are used mostly by taxi drivers.
Executives from the two companies said in an announcement that they will share management of the newly merged firm, with the brands retaining their own corporate identities. They said a formal announcement would be made in coming days.
The move stands to slam the door on the China market, offering a potential further setback for Uber, which faces legal challenges in South Korea, India, Europe, California and other markets for using drivers who lack taxi licenses.
Online seller Alibaba and Tencent, which operates the popular WeChat social media service, are launching services in personal finance, entertainment and other fields. Alibaba and Tencent have been picked by Beijing to be among the investors in China's first privately financed banks since the 1949 Communist revolution.