Uber, the ride-sharing service, and Alibaba, the Alibaba Group, will merge on Monday, the companies announced in a joint statement.
Uber and Alibaba will be “joining forces to build the largest e commerce network in the world, including an ecommerce marketplace and marketplace platform,” according to the statement.
It’s unclear what this could mean for existing users of Uber, but it’s likely to be an expansion of the existing service that connects riders with merchants.
In the past, Uber has partnered with merchants to make their services available to drivers and passengers.
In 2018, Uber acquired a group of ride-hailing firms including Taxi for China, and in 2019 it began testing its own ride-to-garage service, UberX, which launched in China last fall.
In China, Uber drivers are currently required to pay fees to ride-share companies and are not eligible for a discount on the cost of their trips.
The UberX service is expected to be rolled out in 2018.
The companies will combine their existing networks of ride hailing and delivery services to create an e commerce business, the statement said.
Uber, a ride-service company that began in 2013, will offer its services in about 180 cities, the company said.
The merger is expected, however, to take some time to complete, and it’s not clear how much Uber would benefit from the combined companies.
Uber is already part of the global taxi industry and is expanding its presence there, although the ride sharing service has faced criticism from regulators.
In 2017, the Chinese government issued a regulation requiring taxi drivers to be licensed and required them to follow a set of safety standards, among other things.
Uber’s ride sharing operations have been criticized for safety and the quality of the rides they provide.