Business & Technology

Jean Liu

She beat Uber at its own game and put other foreign tech firms on notice.

President, Didi Chuxing

Liu was the public face of a corporate battle that showed just how hard it is for even the most ambitious and nimble U.S. company to break into China, and reinforced the perception that China’s tech champions can’t be beat on their home courts. In Feburary 2015, soon after ascending to president of Didi Dache, China’s largest ride-hailing app, Liu moved to secure the company’s dominance in China’s huge ride-hailing market by merging with its largest domestic competitor, Kuaidi, creating a combined entity called Didi Chuxing. In December 2015, Liu forged a partnership with Lyft, Uber’s U.S. competitor, and in May 2016 she secured $1 billion in funding from Apple, a powerful vote of confidence from one of the world’s most valuable companies. In late July, after Didi and Uber had spent billions battling each other in the Chinese market, Didi announced its acquisition of Uber, granting it a $7 billion stake in the Chinese app now valued at $35 billion. Uber will make good money, but China’s coveted ride-hailing market now appears to belong to Didi and its 300 million users. Other foreign tech firms covetously eying a new market in China have surely noticed.

(Photo credit: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

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