China’s largest e-hailing app company Didi Chuxing has secured US$500 million from strategic investor Booking Holdings, according to a press release from both firms.
Booking Holdings is the publicly-listed parent company behind six major travel and restaurant-related brands such as Booking.com, Kayak, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable.
Going forward, brands under Booking Holdings will be able to provide its users with on-demand car service, powered by Didi. Likewise, Didi users will be able to book hotels through Booking.com or Agoda through the transportation app.
“Building on its leadership and expertise in the global online travel market, Booking is championing a digital revolution of travel experience,” said Stephen Zhu, Vice President for Strategy, Didi Chuxing.
Zhu added, “We look forward to seamlessly connecting every segment of the journey and improving everyone’s traveling experience through more collaborative innovation with the Booking brands on product, technology and market development.”
Since most of Didi’s 550 million users are in China, this partnership can be seen as Booking trying to strengthen its presence in the East Asian country. For many travellers, getting a taxi in a foreign country might sound like a huge headache, especially if they are not well acquainted with the modes of transport locally. By offering their users a way to get a taxi easily in China, Booking adds a level of customer engagement and stickiness to its apps.
Didi has also launched its services in Mexico in April 2018 and in Australia last month, fighting head to head with old rival Uber, whose Chinese operations it bought out.
It was not specified if users of Booking’s brands will be able to use Didi for its food delivery services through the partner apps, or what the timeline for this partnership would look like.
KrASIA has reached out to Didi and Booking to find out more about the new partnership.