After eating up Uber, Didi makes bold plans for global expansion

Didi Chuxing is to compete globally with its rival Uber.

Ms. Jean Liu, President of Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing app, said at the WSJDLive 2016 that Didi will expand beyond China and grab global market share, leading Chinese media Sina reported.

“We intend to be global. We aspire to be a global company,” announced Liu.

Over the past few years, Didi’s global expansion strategy – as it already did with Lyft, Grab, and Ola – mainly relied on making investments in, and forming partnerships with, local ride-hailing companies. Meanwhile, Uber expanded beyond America by launching businesses in overseas markets.

Liu said that Didi is evaluating target markets to enter, and may partner with local competitors, or if Didi sees a local company is not strong, compete with them.

To facilitate Chinese travellers’ trips in America, Didi in April launched a service by making use of Lyft’s driver network. The service enables Didi users to get a Lyft car when travelling in the country without shifting to other ride-hailing apps.

The ride-hailing battlefield in China ceased fire on August 1, when Didi Chuxing stated that they would acquire Uber China. As part of the deal, Uber received 5.89% of the combined company. The acquisition made Didi the dominant player in China’s ride-hailing industry.

Earlier this month, authorities in Chinese megacities – including Beijing and Shanghai – released draft regulations, imposing strict conditions on ride-hailing platforms, adding new requirements for both cars and drivers. Over 98% of current Didi cars in Shanghai are predicted to be eliminated, according to Chinese tech blog Huxiu.

Liu described the experience of taking on Uber in China as “a hard game, but we had fun.” As this “game” extends to new areas of the globe, many will be watching to see if Didi can repeat its successes in unfamiliar territory.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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