Dubai's Careem and China team up to drive global passengers

Uber facing another alliance of rivals as smaller operators join forces

Uber Technologies Inc. is facing another alliance of rivals as smaller operators team up across different regions for ride hailing services.

Careem Inc., the Dubai-based service that’s valued at about $1 billion, will partner with China’s Yidao Yongche and share resources, according to a statement. They will use London-based startup Splyt Technologies Ltd. to coordinate their fleets and payments so that passengers using one app can travel abroad to use the drivers of others without downloading new software.

Uber has been able to build leadership in ride-hailing with a single app that customers can use to get a ride around the world. Splyt is trying to negate that edge and Chief Executive Officer Philipp Mintchin said his company’s technology connects with partners to help clients see available cars when they land. Splyt holds local bank accounts in regional currencies and makes its money by charging a commission on the currency exchange.

Splyt’s nascent effort resembles another recent alliance of much larger ride-sharing companies. In late 2015, Didi, Lyft Inc., Southeast Asia’s Grab and Ola of India forged a four-way partnership to take on Uber.

Uber’s international expansion was last year dealt a blow when it sold its Chinese operation to Apple Inc.-backed Didi after spending billions of dollars to build its business in the country.

The alliance with Careem comes as Yidao, which is associated with Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, faces local media reports that it’s struggling to pay suppliers. The company denied those claims in a statement and said its business is running smoothly and preparing for an initial public offering.

Mintchin said about 3.5 million cars on seven services in the Middle East, China, South America, France, Poland, Belgium and Nigeria were currently linked by the platform. Partners in Russia and Japan are expected to come on board within the next six months.

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