China’s Didi Kuaidi hires Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang as senior adviser as battle with rival Uber rages on

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2015, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2015, 2:00pm

China’s market-leading car-hailing app Didi Kuaidi, which is backed by local internet giants Tencent and Alibaba, has appointed Jerry Yang,, one of the co-founders of Yahoo!, , as a senior advisor as it continues its battle against US rival Uber for market share in China.

Both companies have stepped up their plans to expand in China recently, signalling tougher competition in the years ahead.

Moreover, Tencent recently removed Uber from its WeChat mobile messaging service, which reigns supreme in mainland China.

Yang, an independent director at Alibaba Group Holding, will also serve as an observer on Didi Kuaidi’s board, the company said in an emailed statement.

“Jerry is a visionary, a pioneer and an investment leader in the internet technology industry. His experience and insights on the global and Asian technology sector will greatly benefit Didi’s long-term strategy to build a leading mobile internet platform of global scale,” Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Kuaidi, said at a statement Tuesday.

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“Didi has proven to be a technology and market leader in China’s mobile internet sector. I am excited with this opportunity to help [co-founder] Cheng Wei, [president] Jean Liu and their great team to continue to innovate and develop the emerging online and offline transportation ecosystem in China,” Yang said.

Under fierce and growing competition with Uber, the company recently forged a global alliance with other ride-hailing providers.

Last Friday it announced a partnership with US-based Lyft, India’s Ola and GrabTaxi of Singapore to build an extensive rideshare alliance that covers nearly half of the world’s population.

This builds on Didi’s investment of US$100 million earlier in the summer in US-based on-demand transport provider Lyft. It also invested an undisclosed amount in Ola, which offers its services in 102 cities across India, and inked a separate deal with GrabTaxi, the leading ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, in August.

Yang is a founding partner of AME Cloud Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. In 1995, he co-founded Yahoo! Inc.. He served as a member of its board of directors from 1995 to 2012.

He currently serves as an independent director of Lenovo Group and Workday Inc, in addition to Alibaba, and as a director at a number of private companies and foundations. He was previously an independent director at Cisco Systems.

Yang is the latest name to join a wave of high-profile appointments at ambitious Chinese technology enterprises.

In October, one of China’s leading smartphone vendors Huawei Technologies, also a large telecoms player, announced it had hired Abigail Sarah Brody, a former creative director at Apple who worked on the first iPhone.

Last month, Li Shipeng, a former principal researcher at Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), left the company to join INGDAN.com, a one-year-old start-up in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.