Alibaba, Tencent merge Web-taxi apps: FT
Companies, brands to remain separate, operate independently
Chinese tech adversaries Alibaba and Tencent have announced a merger of their taxi-hailing apps, the Financial Times reported.
Alibaba's Kuaidi Dache and Tencent's Didi Dache said the deal was not a full merger and would allow both companies to operate independently and keep both chief executives in their current roles.
Both firms are thought to be interested in the online taxi business for its potential to expand mobile payment systems and they are closely matched in market share, with Kuaidi Dache's Speedy Taxi on 54.4% and Didi Dache's Honk Honk Taxi on 44.9% as of Q3, according to Analysys International.
According to FT, China's strict antitrust regulations have rarely been enforced against domestic heavyweights.
"The combined company expects to conduct the businesses of Kuaidi and Didi independently under separate brands," Alibaba and Tencent said in a joint statement. "The co-CEOs are especially grateful to the company's shareholders for their support of the company's independent operations."
In December, another Chinese Internet giant, Baidu, reportedly agreed to buy a stake in US-based Web-taxi business Uber, which has encountered battles with national regulators across the globe, including those in China.