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Didi ventures into e-commerce, following previous moves in delivery and on-demand trucking

The move marks the latest attempt for Didi to expand beyond its core ride-hailing business.

Photo by leonie wise on Unsplash

China’s largest ride-hailing platform, Didi Chuxing, will soon allow Chinese residents to order groceries online, from fresh veggies to consumers products such as toothpaste, through a mini program recently launched on WeChat, called Chengxin Youxuan, expanding the company’s offering to a wider range of services.

The service will be available first to consumers in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Southwest Sichuan province. It is yet unknown if it will be expanded to other Chinese cities.

“Similar to our errand service and trucking service, Chengxin Youxuan is one of our new explorations and is still at the stage of testing in a small-scope area,” Didi Chuxing told KrASIA on Tuesday.

Consumers can place their order for groceries online via the mini program, and choose to pick up the order by themselves at a physical location or wait for the delivery within two days. According to a 36Kr report, the service will be implemented by third-party couriers.

Didi’s new offering taps an area with no direct connection with its core ride-hailing business, in competition with other players such as Dada Nexus, backed by Walmart and JD.com, which offers on-demand grocery delivery, and Nice Tuan, which allows individuals to group-buy items online.

Read more: Social and grocery e-commerce startup Nice Tuan closes round C+ fundraising

A screenshot of Didi’s Chengxin Youxuan mini program

In March, Didi launched an errand service called “Paotui,” in Chengdu and Hangzhou, promising to deliver everything from groceries, drinks, medicine, and even flowers within a city, with drivers from the firm’s dedicated service Didi Chauffeur as the first batch of errand runners.

Didi has also announced the launch of an on-demand trucking service in the same cities, KrASIA reported on June 6. The firm has already added a new channel, called Huoyun (“cargo shipping” in English), on the Didi app. The service will be launched on June 23, Didi announced on Tuesday, adding that it has signed over 20,000 new drivers.

China digest

Unlike the new errand and trucking services, which both have special channels inside Didi’s app, Chengxin Youxuan currently only has a WeChat mini program to meet its clients.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company