Uber teams up with Didi Kuaidi in car hailing space in China

Uber vs Didi Kuaidi


Uber’s war with Didi Kuaidi in ride hailing service has reached back to Uber’s home turf as Didi Kuaidi has opened up a new front by backing up Lyft, Uber’s biggest rival in America. Uber’s battle with Didi Kuaidi in Chinese car hailing market has been discussed in detail in my previous blog Uber’s epic battle with Didi Kuaidi in Chinese ride hailing market. Earlier some month back Didi had rejected Uber’s offer to invest in Didi and also said to Uber’s CEO that ““You are earlier than us” globally but there will be a day when we will surpass you.”

Didi Kuaidi along with Alibaba, Tencent holding and billionaire Carl Icahn has recently invested in Lyft’s latest funding round valuing the company at $2.5 Billion. This investment will increase competitive threat for Uber vis a vis Didi Kuaidi as Uber will have to put its focus back on its home turf.  Uber is facing similar thread in Asian market wherein investor’s such as Soft Bank from Japan, Tiger Global have put their money in favour of local players and Didi has also invested in Grab Taxi.

Uber and Didi are involved in a very costly struggle in China and Didi’s investment in Lyft will put Uber’s situation bit worse in that Uber will have to put its focus back on USA rather than focusing on China, which as per Uber’s statements was Uber’s biggest prize.

Along with investment in Lyft, Didi Kuaidi has recently rebranded itself as “Didi Chuxing” and even changed its logo for the same reason.  This move is aimed to showcase itself not only as car hailing service provider but a serious player providing broader commuting services. Earlier Didi used name “kuaidi” which meant quickly while its new name “Chuxing” in Chinese means commute.  For this purpose, Didi has entered into services like taxi hailing, premium driver service, car pooling and bus sharing reinforces its goal of moving into broader commuting services.

The turn of these events had made Didi’s fight with Uber more interesting in car hailing space with both players bleeding due to intense competition. Uber had already pumped $ 2 Billion in China to catch up with Didi Chuxing which already had 2 years of head start in China. Finally long running battle between the two companies got over with Didi Chuxing acquiring and merging Uber China with itself, Didi Chuxing investing $ 1 Billion in Uber global and Uber China investors getting 20% stake in Didi Chuxing.  Quest for profitability was the main reason for leaving China as per Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Economics and profitability won over Uber’s desire to solve transportation problem for one fifth of humanity. Hope consumers are going to be the ultimate victor in the final battle.


Soft Bank investment in Wandoujia hottens up Chinese App Store Market Place

Wandoujia, China’s one of the largest android app distribution platform, with a massive funding of $120 million from a consortium of investor including Soft Bank, GoldMan Sachs, DCM and Innovation Work Development Fund (IWDF) in a series B funding in January 2014 has opportunity to come as a serious threat in the fierce battle of China’s increasing lucrative android app eco system. Earlier Wandoujia had received $8 Million Series A funding from a consortium led by DCM and IWDF in 2011.

Softbank is Japanese mobile telecom company which has been huge investments in Chinese companies such as 32% stake in China’s biggest Internet mall, Alibaba and $600 million funding in China’s taxi based app Kuaidi Dache.  IWDF is U.S. based investment arm of Chuangxin, China’s renowned early stage venture firm.
Wandoujia is China’s search engine for mobile entertainment with more than 2.2 million free videos, 1.7 million novels, 1.5 million high quality android apps and games, wallpapers and themes. Wandoujia claims to be having 350 million total installation with 800000 new installations each day.  This makes Wandoujia  one of the leading Android app distribution channel in China.  Wandoujia has partenered with various foreign developers like Flipboard, Evernote Sketch, Evernote Food, Path, Pocket, and Line to promote their apps in China. F Wandoujia publishes Mobile Search Index, which helps in discovering and thus downloading android apps in China. Further, Wandoujia has a PC-to-Android syncing tool with the name Snap Pea for global audience. Wandoujia says that it is first mobile gate way in China integrating contents across multiple verticals like apps, games, videos, music etc.
In my previous blog Chinese Android App Store Market, I have discussed Chinese mobile market and Chinese Android app store landscape in detail.  Softbank investment in Wandoujia has made Chinese app store market more interesting with tough competition between major app stores with each getting huge support from one or other big player in the Chinese Internet market. 
Since it is very difficult to rank Chinese app stores due to difference in metrics used by different Android app stores, we have analysed major Chinese app store players in no particular order:

Sl No
App Store
Major Feature
Baidu Mobile Assistant
·     Recently purchased rival 91 mobile in $1.9 Billion
·     Synergy with Baidu’s search engine – which is China’s largest search engine
·     Baidu and 91 mobile run separately
·     350 million times installed
·     800,000 new installations each day
·     Received $120 Million funding from Soft Bank
·     Available as Android mobile app and as a web app
·     Search engine for mobile entertainment with search engine for online videos and eBooks
·     PC to Android sync app named Wandoujia (Chinese version) and SnapPea(Global version)
Tencent App gem
·     Uses WeChat to give boost to its app store
·     Total cumulative download of 64 million apps
·     400% increase in daily active users and daily downloads on App Gem in past six months
360 Mobile Assistant
·     Owned by China’s second biggest search engine Qihoo
·     Qihoo’s app store has “over 400 million users
·     Assumed to have biggest android app market share
91 Mobile Assistant
·     Owned by Baidu along with Hi Market
·     Reduced distribution fee for mobile game developers from 10 % to five %

Although Chinese app stores do not follow similar metrics to provide data and there have always been reliability issues in these data, Newzoo has released market share of various app stores in China as shown below:

This makes Baidu as having highest market share with total market share of 37% market share (Baidu Mobile Assistant – 20%, HiMarket – 9% and 91 Mobile Assistant – 8%) followed by 24% market share of Tencent’s my app.