Toyota invests $600m in ride-hailing service Didi

25 Jul 2019

From left: Stephen Zhu, vice-president of Didi Chuxing, and Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice-president of Toyota Motor Corporation. Image: Toyota

Toyota has previously made significant investments in transportation companies such as Uber and Grab.

This morning (25 July), Toyota announced that it will invest $600m in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.

The ride-hailing company, known commonly as Didi, is headquartered in Beijing. Its services include taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride sharing, bike sharing and on-demand delivery services. In 2018, the platform reported having 550m users and 30m drivers.

As part of Toyota’s wider strategy to link up with technology firms, the two companies will set up a mobility service joint venture. Toyota has previously invested $500m in Uber and $1bn in south-east Asian transportation network company Grab.

CNBC reported that the new venture would also include Toyota’s Chinese partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), and would see the companies combining services and technologies.

Tech collaboration

In January 2018, Toyota announced a separate deal with Didi – as well as other companies including Amazon, Pizza Hut, Uber and Mazda – to work on a project called e-Palette, which is basically a self-driving modular store.

As part of today’s deal with Didi, Toyota will provide vehicle-related services to drivers on Didi’s ride-sharing platform.

In a statement, Toyota said: “Through this new agreement, Toyota and Didi plan to shift a full-scale implementation of services that they have been developing in China.

“By creating more efficient and high-quality ride-hailing businesses, the two companies will provide mobility service solutions that contribute to Chinese society.”

Toyota’s executive vice-president, Shigeki Tomoyama, added: “I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilises Toyota’s connected technologies and next-generation BEVs [battery electric vehicles], with Didi, China’s mobility service market leader.

“Looking ahead, we will work with Didi to develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in China.”

Didi already has existing partnerships with car manufacturers and other vehicle-related companies, including Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, FAW, Dongfeng and GAC.

Didi’s long-term plan is to “reach beyond its ride-hailing services by creating a platform that uses new energy, AI-based and mobility technology”, according to TechCrunch.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic