China’s largest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing announced on Friday its plan to launch in Melbourne on June 25 in a globalization push.
The Beijing-based company has started signing up drivers since June 1 and has started a trial in the Australian city of Geelong last month.
“In 2018, Didi will continue to cultivate markets in Latin America, Australia, and Japan. We are confident a combination of world-class transportation AI technology and deep local expertise will bring a better experience to overseas markets,” Didi Chuxing stated in a statement.
To entice users and drivers to its platform, Didi Chuxing said it plans to offer “a series of welcome packages to both drivers and riders”, which will likely to be fee waivers and coupons.
CHENG Wei, founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing, thinks globalization is a top priority for the company. “We aim to build the world’s largest one-stop transportation platform,” said CHENG to local media Caijing in an interview.
In that light, the company has forayed into Latin America by acquiring Brazilian 99 in January and brought its service to Mexico in April. Didi Chuxing also joined hands with SoftBank to set up a joint venture to provide a taxi-hailing platform in Japan.
Passenger death & emerging rival Meituan-Dianping
Back home, Didi Chuxing has drawn fire from the public after the death of a female passenger allegedly killed by a Didi driver. In that light, Didi Chuxing plans to select drivers carefully in Australia, launching a series of safety features, including 24/7 emergency calls, phone number protection, and trip sharing.
In Australia, the Chinese ride-hailing company is going to compete with old rival Uber which claimed it counts Australia as a key market and is investing heavily in the country’s ride-hailing industry. Other companies in the market include Didi-backed India’s Ola, which has also kicked off it service in the country, starting from Perch in February and then expanded to Sydney and Melbourne.
The company is also facing fierce competition from Meituan-Dianping, the world’s largest O2O platform backed by Tencent. Meituan-Dianping has launched its ride-hailing service in Nanjing and Shanghai, claiming to have gobbled up a market share of over 30% in both two cities.
Editor: Jason Zheng