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Uber rivals form alliance covering half of world's population

Some of Uber's largest rivals Friday announced a global ride-sharing agreement that they say will cover nearly 50 percent of the world's population, marking the latest step in a fight to lure customers away from the taxi-hailing leader.

In this collaboration, Didi Kuaidi, GrabTaxi, Lyft and Ola will be able to leverage each other's technology, local market knowledge and business resources. The partner services are planned to roll out early next year, the companies said in a joint statement.

The aim of this alliance is to provide travelers with greater accessibility to on-demand rides anywhere, enabling users to book rides from each other's apps.

The global partnership is built upon "our shared vision of reconnecting communities through better transportation," said John Zimmer, Lyft co-founder and president.

Each of the four on-demand ride services already have an existing foothold in various countries, and do not have any overlaps of markets that they operate in. Three of the four companies service customers in Asia, where these apps have increasingly gained in popularity as more consumers embrace smartphones.

By learning from each other's innovations and successes, we can "build better mobility solutions in our respective markets," said Ola co-founder and CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal. Ola operates in over 102 cities across India, with over a million daily booking requests.

"We are pleased to help Didi, Lyft and Ola offer transportation services in Southeast Asia where the significant diversity of language, culture and social practices across the region can be challenging for foreign companies to navigate," said Anthony Tan, CEO of GrabTaxi, which reportedly has over 1.5 million bookings daily across Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

All four companies also face stiff competition from Uber, which is still the biggest on-demand ride service app globally. Collectively, Didi Kuaidi, GrabTaxi, Lyft and Ola have raised more than $7 billion, while Uber has raised more than $7 billion.

Uber is closing in on its goal of raising $2.1 billion in venture capital, according to The New York Times. Once this round is completed, the total investment will value Uber at $62.5 billion, ranking it as the world's most valuable private start-up, according to the Times.

"The consolidation is definitely a concern for Uber," said Bradley Gastwirth, CEO of ABR Investment Strategy in an email interview. "This could potentially take market share, if it works seamlessly across many different regions in the world."

Uber has declined to comment.

The global rideshare agreement was first formed by Lyft and Didi Kuaidi in September, which gave San Francisco-based Lyft its first access into the Chinese market.

"This is a win for the diversity and vitality of the global rideshare industry," said Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Kuaidi, which has a 83 percent market share in private car-hailing space in China.

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