Chinese rideshare platform DiDi is launching in Sydney in March, almost 2 years after it entered Australia

Didi is coming to Sydney. Image: Supplied.
  • Chinese rideshare company Didi is launching in Sydney on March 16.
  • The company entered Australia in 2018, beginning in Geelong before heading to other cities including Melbourne, Newcastle and Perth.
  • Didi claims it is 10% cheaper than other ridesharing companies like Uber and Ola.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Chinese rideshare platform DiDi is set to launch in Sydney.

The platform first launched in Australia in 2018, beginning in Geelong before heading to Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, and Perth. Now the platform will be launching in Sydney on March 16.

Didi says it has seen 2 million riders on its platform since it launched in Australia. In 2019, the company told Business Insider Australia that launching in Sydney “isn’t part of our short term strategy” but still had its sights on operating in the city.

Now that the company is heading to Sydney, DiDi Australia General Manager Lyn Ma said in a statement the company’s entry into Sydney was a major milestone for its expansion across Australia.

“Sydney is home to some of the best attractions in the world and we are excited to provide its residents and visitors a safe, reliable and value-for money way to get around one of the world’s most stunning cities,” he said.

“We are eager to work alongside local stakeholders in the Sydney transportation industry, along with using leading AI technologies and local operational expertise, to innovate and build a better, trusted product with the aim to be Sydney’s preferred ridesharing platform.”

Didi claims it is up to 10% cheaper than other ridesharing companies like Uber and Ola.

As part of its Sydney launch, the platform will roll out its ‘Express’ service – which offers a minimum of four seats – and the ‘Max’ service which is a 7-seat option.

Riders who sign up before March 16 will get 50% off rides during the first four weeks of the launch. On the other hand, Didi drivers who are approved by March 11 will get a 5% service fee. After the first four weeks of the launch, that goes up to a 12% service fee. And if a driver signs on two or more friends by March 11 they don’t pay a service fee during that four week period.

Not all Australian drivers are happy with Didi

Didi drivers have been kicking up a stink after it introduced a new payment and loyalty system in Australia.

With the Didi Advance loyalty program, drivers pay higher commissions unless they complete 30 or more trips per week, among other conditions.

Drivers have said the new loyalty program puts pressure on them to take on more jobs, makes them work longer hours to keep their pay rate up and doesn’t let them take a holiday or sick day without dropping status.

“The Advance system encourages drivers to work longer hours to unlock the lowest commission,” a Didi driver named Ron told Business Insider Australia in January. “There are many drivers out there desperate for money and many international [drivers] sending as much as they can back home. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Didi, however, stood by its Advance program, telling Business Insider Australia it raised the quality of drivers on the platform and improved the rider experience.

“The introduction of DiDi Advance has seen an improvement in rider experience due to an increase in trip acceptance and reduction of cancellations, something we are thrilled to see,” Didi spokesperson Dan Jordan told Business Insider Australia at the time.


READ MORE:

  • DiDi, the ‘Uber of China’, has launched in two more Queensland markets – but still no Sydney
  • Chinese ridesharing company Didi is continuing its Aussie push in Perth, but Sydney isn’t in its ‘short-term strategy’
  • Uber competitor DiDi’s new reward system has slashed pay rates for Australian drivers, as they work punishing hours and battle it out for limited jobs
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