It took Uber five years to reach 1 billion rides, Chinese rival reaches milestone in one

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Uber recently announced one billion rides since its 2009 launch. That sounds massive, until you hear that Didi Kuaidi, a rival taxi service in China, managed 1.43 billion rides in 2015 alone.

Didi Kuaidi is Uber’s worst nightmare, a merger between Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache designed to make it near impossible for any foreign taxi service to win market share. In the past year, Didi Kuaidi has cemented its position in China, holding 80 percent of the private car hire market and 99 percent of the taxi hailing market in the country.

Even with the higher amount of rides last year, Didi Kuaidi is only valued at a quarter of Uber’s current valuation, which is apparently $62.5 billion. This is most likely due to Didi Kuaidi staying in one country, while Uber expands to 70 countries.

Didi Kuaidi is starting to branch out of China, investing in Lyft, India’s Ola, and Southeast Asia’s GrabTaxi. However, these partnerships can only go so far, and if Didi Kuaidi truly wants to take on Uber it needs to become active in more countries.

Last year, the company raised $4.4 billion, with major investors like Softbank, Tencent, and Alibaba getting involved.

These investments seem more like alliances, after Tencent blocked Uber on WeChat. Uber managed to bag one key alliance with Baidu, but the prominence of the search engine is starting to fade as Chinese Internet users spend more time shopping, messaging, or using social media.

Interestingly, even with the small percentage market share, Uber claims 30 percent of all its trips are in China. Uber is also looking into splitting its Chinese branch from the main company, to win more customers, though it might need more than a split, according to The Information.