- Grab app can now be used in more than 200 U.S. cities
- Agreement is the latest to emerge from global alliance
GrabTaxi Holdings Pte and Lyft Inc. have linked their apps so customers of Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing service can hail a car in the U.S., and vice versa.
The integration goes live in coming weeks and stems from a global alliance between China’s Didi Chuxing, Singapore-based Grab, San Francisco-based Lyft and India’s Ola to curb Uber Technologies Inc.’s international expansion. The two-way tie-up announced Thursday comes after Didi first began letting Chinese customers order Lyft cars through the Didi app when visiting the U.S.
Grab gains access to a network of more than 200 U.S. cities, while Lyft’s users will be able to call up cars in 30 cities across the six Southeast Asian countries where Grab operates, they said in a statement. In time, the Asian startup may also draw Ola and Didi into similar pacts.
“We’re going to look, of course, into Didi and Ola,” Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said in an interview. “For sure, the plans are in the works and the foundation has been built.”
By working together, the companies aim to fend off much-larger Uber, which serves millions of passengers across the world but faces formidable local competition in Asia. Their four-way coalition reaches almost half of the world’s population.
Southeast Asia is a popular tourist destination. The number of travelers to a region that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam is expected to almost double from 2015 to about 200 million in the next 10 years, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The Grab-Lyft tie-up will let travelers call up on-demand rides without having to worry about local currency, language or setting up new accounts. They pay for rides via credit cards or services such as PayPal and Alipay.
“As more and more people travel to and from the U.S. and Southeast Asia, our work with Grab gives travelers peace of mind when abroad,” Kristina Gibson, Lyft’s head of international product, said in the statement. “It’s as easy as opening up the app you already know and love.”