More Thoughts on Uber & China

Even while he’s in South Africa this summer, 7CTOs CEO Etienne de Bruin has got much to offer. I noticed this video about Uber being a scam on his Facebook feed today, and it’s definitely worth sharing (no pun intended) and considering, particularly as more and more of the country’s citzenry moves into one segment or another of the sharing, or 1099 (as seems to be the hot new definition for it), economy.

So let's consider whether Uber is the greatest thing ever or the greatest hype ever, in wake of that video, which uses cut-n-dry math to cut through hype and media fealty.

But there was a bunch of great Monday-afternoon quarterbacking about Uber’s decision to sell its Chinese operation to the country’s Didi Chuxing, which initially looked like a sign of weakness but upon further review and reading now suggests it may have been a canny strategic move against its top competitor, Lyft.

As this article from Quartz describes, last September, Lyft and Didi Chuxing struck a $100 million partnership deal that was described as a “global anti-Uber alliance.”  Uber selling out in China -- while getting a $1 billion investment from Didi to boot -- sticks a dagger (in the back?) pretty deep on that initial deal.

Moveover, it frees Uber up to focus on Lyft in the USA, where the latter’s reputation among drivers and passengers is better than the former’s (though drivers are more opinionated about it than passengers, who, in the end, are really just looking for the cheapest ride). 

FWIW, personally, every time I’ve contacted or dealt with the Lyft PR department, they have been responsive and helpful. Uber has either said my query wasn’t for their press department and should be addressed elsewhere (absurd and wrong) or flat out ignored me.

Speaking of PR, the Financial Times today has an epic/hilarious mega-quote from Didi Chuxing’s President Jean Liu. It’s behind a paywall, so we’ll just leave it here: “Uber has been a grand rival and we have had an epic battle. We raged an earth-shaking war, and when we join hands, our love will last till the end of time.”

Ooooooo-kay, then.

Here’s some other good stuff we found around the net about the Uber/China deal and its rippling implications for both (and everybody else

Lots of good reporting and writing here. If you’ve any links to stories that might help us figure out What It All Means, please share them below!