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Kuaidi marries Didi: End of the battle or a new beginning?

2015-02-16 08:15 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Qin Dexing

A year ago, we posted a motion graphic report illustrating the history of Chinese taxi-hailing apps. Of the major contenders, Didi and Kuaidi barely survived after rounds of fierce competition.

Following four rounds of financing the survivors jointly announced an "engagement" on Saturday.

The merger was announced on Valentine's Day with Cheng Wei, chief executive of Didi, saying: "It is a gift to the Chinese people and our great journey is about to start from here".

Many users of the two apps have expressed concerns about the "marriage".

On China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, some people asked whether coupons provided by the two firms are accepted by both sides and whether the subsidies will be reduced or cut completely as a monopoly develops in the taxi-hailing service sector.

An online survey conducted by Sina claims that, as of Sunday, 63.6 percent of users said they won't use the apps if coupon subsidies are reduced, while the remainder will continue to use them.

According to the two companies, the deal is believed to create China's biggest mobile platform for local transportation.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, praised the move, saying it makes a contribution to the "mobile transport" sector.

"Internet plus transportation" will become a new Internet-based industry, said Ma Huateng, chief executive officer of Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holding Ltd, two of the nation's three Internet behemoths, have both invested in the two apps:

Didi and Kuaidi continue to be challenged in ride-on-demand services by new rivals.

Internet giant Baidu Inc bought a stake in fast-growing international car-hailing service Uber in December as the pair chase growth in one of the world's largest transportation markets.

Uber's driver services are available in nine Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, according to Candice Lo, who heads the company's expansion efforts in China.

In addition, Beijing-based rental firm CAR Inc launched a ride-on-demand service in January.

Analysts believe that CAR Inc, as one of the main private car-rental service providers, has great experience, such as driver team training, security management and standard cars, and can compete with the newly-merged company.

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