Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China's Didi Teams Up With Careem in Middle East, North Africa

  • Deal with Careem will see it share operations in the region
  • Move comes just a week after first major push into Europe

Didi Chuxing has continued to expand beyond its home in China by investing in Careem, a ride-hailing platform that operates in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan.

Just a week after making its first major move into Europe by backing Estonia’s Taxify OU, the Chinese ride-hailing giant said Tuesday that it would form a strategic partnership with the Saudi Arabia-based company - its first collaboration in the Middle East and North Africa. Didi will share operations, product development, business planning and knowledge with Careem.

Didi and Careem said by email they were not disclosing the value of the investment. Users will not be able to hail Didi and Careem cars from the same app, a spokeswoman for Careem said.

The two companies would “look deep into all potential areas of synergy to create the right kinds of products and services for users,” said a Didi spokeswoman.

Pakistan could be a particular focus for competition between Uber Technologies Inc. and Didi. In May, Uber said it would invest $500 million in the country by 2020 to expand its operations. Uber and Didi reached a truce in China last year when Didi bought Uber’s brand, business and data in the country.

Careem was founded in 2012 and operates in more than 80 cities across 13 countries, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Daimler AG, the world’s biggest luxury carmaker, both took part in Careem’s $500 million-fundraising in June.

Didi is heavily backed by SoftBank Group Corp. which contributed $5 billion to its record $5.5 billion fundraising in April. Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund is also the primary investor in SoftBank’s $93 billion Vision Fund.

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