China’s largest ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing has officially launched its service in Costa Rica on Tuesday, covering major cities such as Cartago, Puntarenas, Heredia, Alajuela, and the capital San Jose, according to Didi’s press release.
The Chinese tech giant has enrolled more than 5,000 drivers in four weeks’ recruitment, said the company. According to Pablo Mondragón, Didi’s head of Costa Rica business, the company will also start a 24/7 customer service hotline to ensure safe operations, becoming the first ride-hailing platform in the country to provide such service, Chinese state media Xinhua reported. Didi also announced that it is still searching for more local talents to support operations in Costa Rica.
Local newspaper La Nacion reported that Didi is offering promos for early adopters, such a 50% off for the first ride, and special gift coupons.
Costa Rica is the first country in Central America and the fifth nation in Latin America where Didi has launched its services. Before making a foray into Costa Rica, the firm acquired Brazilian startup 99 and started operations in Mexico in the first quarter of 2018. Didi later also kicked off its ride-hailing service in Colombia and Chile in June 2019.
In Costa Rica, Didi will directly compete with US-based Uber, which started operations in 2015 and has grown quickly favored by a thin legal framework regarding ride-hailing companies in the country. Local media The Tico Times wrote that the Costa Rican Economic Affairs Committee of the Legislative Assembly introduced a new bill in September, which attempts to regulate and tax such platforms, and is now under revision.
Didi has become an important transportation service provider in Latin America, where it has seen rapid growth. The company announced that it will adjust its organizational structure to better adapt itself to the Latin American market, according to the press release.
The Chinese ride-hailing company is also ramping up overseas expansion in other countries. It has launched services in Australia in June 2018 and started to offer ride-hailing operations in Japan last September. KrASIA previously reported that Didi planned to expand its taxi-hailing services to 20 Japanese cities by the end of this year.
The company is also eyeing other regions for global expansion. Didi has invested globally in ride-hailing regional leaders, including Singapore-based Grab, US-headquartered Lyft, India’s Ola, Taxify in central and eastern Europe and Careem in the Middle East, according to its official website.