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Uber makes it easier for Chinese tourists to hail a ride

Engadget Engadget 3/05/2016 Nick Summers
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To stay ahead in the ride-hailing race, Uber has teamed up with the Chinese payments service Alipay. A new partnership means passengers can now hail an Uber outside of China using the Alipay app, rather than Uber's own software. From the home screen, travelers will see an Uber option and have access to the company's regular perks, including driver information and the vehicle's estimated time of arrival. Trip fees will be charged directly to the user's Alipay account in Chinese yuan. Uber's hope is that Chinese tourists will now use its service all around the world, shunning its rivals in the US and abroad, due to their familiarity with the Alipay app.

The partnership also affects the Uber app. Passengers can now link their Alipay account inside Uber's own software, negating the need to connect a dual-currency credit card (and have trips charged in US dollars).

The deal is similar to the one Lyft forged last year with Didi Chuxing, known then as Didi Kuaidi. Now, Americans visiting China can use the Lyft app to hail a Didi Chuxing ride; the same integration works in reverse, allowing Didi Chuxing users to hail Lyfts in the US. In both instances, the idea is to tie users to a particular ride-hailing provider, and discourage trips with any competing service. For companies like Uber and Lyft, success depends on scale and mass adoption. Partnerships like these are, therefore, designed to quickly claim new users, mindshare and, ultimately, business.

Uber

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