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Lyft says Ni Hao to Chinese riders

The ride-hailing company will let Chinese visitors summon its drivers using Didi, the largest ride-sharing app in China. It's one step closer to Lyft's plan to let US passengers hail rides abroad.

Lyft

Hailing a ride in the US just got easier for visitors from China.

Riders can now use China's biggest ride-hailing app, Didi, to hail a Lyft car in the US. The rollout this week makes good on a partnership Lyft announced in September, which also includes Ola and Grab, ride-hailing apps that together cover countries from India to Indonesia.

It's one more step toward Lyft staking a claim outside of the US, where its customers are currently stuck without a ride. It's also a detour from rival Uber's international strategy. Uber operates in 60 different countries under its own flag.

The partnership performs a kind of presto-change-o on Didi. Chinese users in the US will see the Didi app they know, with a few changes based on the local services they can request. But behind the scenes, it will be Lyft the whole time. A Lyft driver will pick the passenger up without ever knowing Didi was involved.

The Lyft app will let users hail a ride in China from Didi in the coming weeks, said Kristina Gibson, head of international products at Lyft, and the partnership with Grab will come to fruition around the same time.