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Lyft partnership will help you get a ride in China

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 16, 2015
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Ridesharing services don't usually translate well across borders. Even if you can use the same company, you may have to pay in a different currency -- how do you know what that trip will cost until you've paid for it? Lyft might have a way to set your mind at ease. It just unveiled a partnership with China's biggest ridesharing firm, Didi Kuaidi, that will make it easier for travelers in both China and the US to hail rides. If you're an American visiting China, you can request a Didi car through the Lyft app in dollars; accordingly, a Chinese visitor to the States can use Didi to get a Lyft vehicle while paying in yuan. This ideally gives you both access to a service with a lot of coverage (Uber's Chinese footprint is small compared to Didi's) and prices you can understand.

The alliance is part of a larger "Rides Everywhere" initiative that could reach other countries. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lyft and Didi are talking to would-be partners in India and Singapore. And of course, both sides of the deal aren't doing this solely to be nice to each other. Lyft is not only getting a $100 million investment from Didi, but the kind of Chinese coverage (though not the revenue) that Uber can only dream of. Didi, meanwhile, could snag both more travel-minded customers at home and hurt Uber's bottom line in the US. It's not certain that this team-up will do much to tip the balance in the ridesharing wars, but it may well make your next trip to Shanghai considerably easier.

[Image credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images]

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