Uber Technologies Inc.’s Chinese rival invested in U.S. ride-sharing service Lyft Inc. around the second quarter, according to people familiar with an investment that takes the battle with Uber abroad.
Didi Kuaidi joined Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. in the funding round between March and June, the people said, asking not to be named because the deal was private. Their joint investment was intended to fuel Didi Kuaidi’s expansion abroad and bankroll Uber’s U.S. competitor, the people said.
Alibaba invested $25 million, one of the people said. Asia’s two largest Internet companies already back Didi Kuaidi, the leading Chinese car-hailing service formed in February from two competing apps.
Uber and Didi Kuaidi are locked in a costly struggle in China, competing for market share with incentives and subsidies to lure drivers and passengers. Both are close to raising more than $4 billion combined from investors in their latest fundraising rounds, people familiar with the plans said previously.
Alibaba had been part of a consortium that backed San Francisco-based Lyft, whose cars in the U.S. sport distinctive pink mustaches on their front. The service counts Carl Icahn among its investors and was valued in a March fundraising round at $2.5 billion. Uber, in contrast, was said to be valued at more than $40 billion in its last round.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the three companies’ investments Thursday. Alibaba and Didi Kuaidi declined to comment, while Tencent didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment. Lyft spokeswoman Paige Thelen declined to comment on the deal.