Amid Upbeat Year, Lyft Explores International Expansion

As Lyft begins a large-scale advertising campaign to try to continue gaining market share versus Uber in the U.S., its geographic ambition is rising.

The company is expected to enter Canada as soon as the end of this year and, if things go well, could potentially move into Australia and New Zealand, according to three people who have been involved with or briefed about the discussions at the company. The moves would mark the company’s first ever Lyft-branded international expansion. The interest in Canada came after managers lowered their estimate for what it would cost to launch in new cities, based on the company’s recent experience in the U.S., one of these people said.

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In the past, many people in the industry, including some at Uber, wrongly left Lyft for dead. Amid its success this year, Lyft has launched the U.S. brand advertising campaign in the hopes that more people will choose to use Lyft over Uber because they feel more affinity for its seemingly friendlier approach, including encouraging riders to have conversations with drivers, and pioneering the ability to tip drivers. (Uber has since added that option.) Not everyone at the company is happy about the ad campaign, according to several people familiar with the disagreements, given that it may be hard to distinguish between the effects of the ad campaign and the impact of other things, including Uber’s ongoing challenges. The price tag of the campaign, according to one of these people, is in the tens of millions of dollars.

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