Didi Chuxing announces new ride-hailing services developed by former Uber China team

Didi Chuxing announced on Monday that it will soon launch a new ride-hailing service category – “Youxiang” or “premium joy” – to supplement its already wide array of services. The aforementioned service is the first project developed by the former Uber China team, which was integrated into Didi Chuxing after its acquisition of Uber China in August last year.

The company said that there is a distinct gap between existing ride hailing services Kuaiche and Zhuanche in aspects including vehicle types, services and price. They have been developing an in-between service.

Kuaiche is a more affordable choice which also offers carpooling options. On the other hand, Zhuanche has better cars and services, and is suitable for business purposes. According to Didi, the car options it offers Zhuanche users include comfortable cars, commercial vehicles, and luxury cars.

What about prices? Didi charges passengers based on time and distance. In order not to confuse you with the math, I will only list Didi’s fees per kilometer among different cars. The company charges Kuaiche and new service users RMB 1.80 (USD 0.26) and RMB 2.50 every kilometer respectively. With Zhuanche, passengers of fancier cars need to pay between RMB 2.90 to RMB 5 for every kilometer.

In August last year, Didi Chuxing acquired Uber China, whose staff were integrated into Didi to form a new department. The new department is responsible for the Uber China app and new service which started in November 2016.

So far, there are nearly 300 million Didi users across more than 400 Chinese cities, according to the company.

Although Didi is indisputably China’s largest ride-hailing app after its Uber China deal, it recently saw an unexpected challenger. Meituan Dianping, China’s Groupon, launched a ride-hailing service inside its app in the eastern Chinese city Nanjing in mid February. Analysts say that Meituan’s low-profile and safe start from a second-tier city was to avoid fierce competition with Didi.

Didi Chuxing will start trial runs of Youxiang and will invite some users to try out this service at a slightly lower price. The first batch of cities chosen for these trial runs include Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. It is scheduled to be available in 22 cities by the end of May.

(Top photo from Pixabay.com)

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