But the deal isn’t about the money — especially since Didi has said that it has multiple billions of U.S. dollars on its balance sheet after it raised $4 billion in new capital late last year. The main focus of that funding will be expanding the company footprint globally, further developing their electric vehicle initiative and investing more aggressively in artificial intelligence (AI) tech.
Instead, according to reports, Booking — formerly known as Priceline — will offer Didi’s on-demand car services through its Booking.com apps via an integration. In addition, Didi customers can book hotels through Booking.com and its sister site Agoda.
Booking also operates Kayak, Priceline.com, Rentacars.com and OpenTable, which can help Didi with its global plans. China’s most popular ridesharing platform has already launched services in Mexico, Australia and Taiwan this year. It acquired local ride-hailing company 99 in Brazil and announced plans to expand into Japan.
“Building on its leadership and expertise in the global online travel market, Booking is championing a digital revolution of travel experience. We look forward to seamlessly connecting every segment of the journey and improving everyone’s traveling experience through more collaborative innovation with the Booking brands on product, technology and market development,” said Stephen Zhu, VP of strategy for Didi, in a statement.
As Didi plans to grow internationally, it is dealing with increased competition in its home country. Earlier this week it was announced that Chinese firms FAW Group, Dongfeng Automobile and Chongqing Changan Automobile signed a cooperation agreement in December to launch T3 Mobile Travel Services.
The firms will work together to introduce partners from other industries to the service, as well as use the development of driverless cars to offer safer and more efficient travel services to all of its clients.