The anti-Uber ridesharing alliance (Lyft + Didi + Ola + Grab) has been shattered by Didi's merger with Uber China. To illustrate the absurdity of the new ridesharing and on-demand landscape, I put together the cluster map below (larger version here).
Uber and Didi's CEOs will join each others boards, and certain investors have now invested in three or more competing ridesharing startups (the winner is Softbank, who now have a direct investment in every major ridesharing startup - Uber, Didi, Lyft, Ola and Grab).
Another interesting recent twist has been the spate of investments made by the major auto manufacturers in ridesharing or ride-hailing startups. With Uber's valuation surpassing that of GM, Ford or Honda, it makes sense for auto manufacturers to position themselves as the OEM of choice for ridesharing and on-demand services.
The announcement throws up a lot of questions about the direct consequences of this deal, and also what it might imply for the future of Uber. For starters, you have to wonder how this will impact the wider competitive landscape in other markets outside of China, if Uber’s CEO is now on the board of Didi and Didi’s CEO is now on Uber’s board. Didi is an investor in all of Uber’s key regional competitors: Lyft (U.S.), Ola (India) and Grab (Southeast Asia). All that we know for now is that the Chinese company said it will “continue to work with global partners” following this deal with Uber. There is also the issue of who may now a part investor in Uber as a result of this deal: Didi’s investors include Alibaba, Apple, DST, Softbank and Tencent.