WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE CAR-HAILING APP
There is a great excitement for the launch of the car with driver services. Last summer the field of so-called car-hailing apps (apps to have a car with driver service) was in great turmoil. In early June, the Sovereign Fund of Saudi Arabia has invested $ 3.5 billion in Uber. It represents the biggest investment in a start-up in history; it brought the total raised by Uber to $ 12.9 billion on a valuation of $ 68 billion. A few days after, Walmart has announced an agreement with Uber and its competitor Lyft for home groceriy-delivery, choosing the cities of Denver and Phoenix for the launch of the new service. Moreover, US funds invest in Indonesia and Citigroup "sale" on GrabTaxi. At the stake there is the rich mobility market (not only of people). In response to Uber initiative, in July Daimler, that4 had acquired MyTaxi in 2014, announced a merger between MyTaxi and its competitor Hailo, with the aim of creating a single brand and in this way compete with Uber. Daimler will retain control of the enlarged company and will inject hundreds of millions of euro into business growth. The model business of MyTaxi is very different from that of Uber. In fact, MyTaxi allows its users to book the classic taxis and therefore has not encountered any hostility from taxi drivers and the regulator. Daimler is not the only automobile manufacturer to have understood the potential value of car-hailing apps. As matter of the fact, General Motors has invested $ 500 million in Lyft; Volkswagen took a share of $ 300 million in Gett (Israel) and Toyota has made an investment not specified in Uber. Signs of peace from Chinese market In the Chinese market there have been two important event. On July 28, the Chinese government formally legalized the car-hailing service which until then has operated in a "gray" area. The main competitors were Uber and Chinese Didi Chuxing, the market leader with a share of around 80%. Both have obviously expressed their government's announcement satisfaction. On July 31 there was a twist: Uber announced the sale of its business in China to Didi Chuxing in exchange of 20% share in Didi. This move puts an end to a war that has lasted three years and has cost, to both competitors, several billion dollars due to an extremely aggressive policy of discounts. Moreover in mid-may Apple had invested one billion dollars in Didi Chuxing and someone has interpreted this decision as a kind of forerunner claiming that Apple had already identified the winner and bet accordingly. This unexpected "peace" between Uber and Didi has also created a very unusual situation. In fact, in recent years Didi Chuxing was put in charge of a kind of anti-Uber "holy alliance". This alliance includes Lyft (U.S.), Ola (India) and GrabTaxi (South East Asia). The paradox is that Uber is now a shareholder, although a minority, in this group hostile to it. Simultaneously with its release from the Chinese market, Uber announced its decision to invest $ 500 million in an ambitious project of "global mapping" to become independent from Google Maps. The self-driving taxi with Volvo On August 18, Uber has announced an alliance with Volvo – which, although Swedish, was bought by Chinese Geely in 2010 – with the aim of introducing self-driving taxis. The two companies will make a joint investment of $ 300 million and they chose Pittsburgh for the trial period. For the trial Uber and Volvo decided to use a fleet of Volvo XC90s specially modified. During the trial period will still be present, for safety reasons, a driver always vigilant but asked to intervene only in cases of emergency and the service will be free for customers. At the end of this trial period, Uber hopes to expand its service to other cities and beyond in other countries. However an American start-up, nuTonomy, announced that, as of August 25, has introduced, on the streets of Singapore, the self-driving taxis (robo-taxis). A technician will still be present on the car and will take control if necessary. Finally on August 21 Citigroup announced a partnership with GrabTaxi that will allow credit card holders issued by Citi, to use points for payment of racing. For Citi this is the first move in this direction.