A Game of Rides: Who’s Playing (and Winning) the Ride-hailing Battle

Published May 10, 2018

The shape of the ride-hailing industry is evolving. No longer an industry solely dominated by giants, regional startups are making their mark and staking claim in various countries around the world. Indonesia-based Go-Jek, India’s Ola, Southeast Asia’s Grab, and Middle East-based Careem are all pushing back against some of the more sizeable companies in the industry, and have backing from some of the world’s most influential investors. While some battles have already been decided, others are still playing out.

Not one to rule them all

Uber is one of, if not the most well-known name in the ride-hailing industry. Operating in upwards of 70 countries, it has secured funding from a number of big-name investors including Google, Softbank, Tencent Holdings, and even competitor Didi Chuxing. However, operating in a region does not always mean that it will be lucrative. Over the past few years, Uber has occasionally pulled out of key markets when either operating at a loss and/or when merging became the more financially prudent option. These decisions were likely correlated to Uber’s desire to go public sometime in 2019. Uber sold its China operations to Didi Chuxing in 2016, formed a joint venture with Yandex in Russia last year, and sold off all of its Indonesian operations to Grab earlier this month. These sales and mergers have granted Uber shares in Didi Chuxing and Grab, but Uber no longer commands a controlling share in any of these ventures.

Despite its widespread operations, Uber is not the only big fish in the ride-hailing pond. Chinese-based Didi Chuxing, currently valued as the most valuable company in the world, not only operates ride-hailing services of its own in many countries, but also invests in smaller similar companies – usually in countries where it doesn’t have its own operations.

Looking beyond these two behemoths, there are a myriad of smaller ride-hailing services looking to stake their claims in less developed markets. Many of these services have procured investments from the same companies funding bigger players like Uber and Didi Chuxing.


The part investors play

It is common for investors to fund more than one ride-hailing business. SoftBank, Didi Chuxing (yes, the same Didi Chuxing that operates its own ride-hailing business), and Tencent Holdings have each invested in five or more unique ride-hailing businesses.

However, they are not the only investors with skin in the game. Take a look at the graphic below to see the relationships between investing companies and ride-hailing businesses.

direct investor
proxy investor
proxy investment
direct investment

Investing Companies

Combination investors and ride-hailing businesses

Ride-hailing Companies

* Uber/Yandex JV is a yet to be named joint venture between San Francisco-based Uber and Russia-based Yandex, according to Bloomberg. Announced last summer, Uber has invested $225 million in the venture, taking a 36.6 percent stake. Yandex owns 59.3 percent of the joint venture.

** Didi Chuxing purchased 99 Taxis in January of this year, but 99 Taxis continues to operate under its own name

Battleground Countries

Each of the countries listed below is home to a ride-hailing battle of its own. Take a look at the scenarios in India, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and the United States to see which ride-hailing businesses are battling it out and whose investments are at stake.


Story & Visuals: Casey Miller
Editing: Lo Bénichou and Stephen Lambe
Source: Investment data collected from Crunchbase
Notes: SoftBank is a Series C investor in Mapbox