Uber may have some steep competition in China.
Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing app that Apple recently invested $1 billion in, is looking to take on Uber. And the numbers show it’s a worthy rival: Didi averages 11 million rides a day in China. It has 300 million users across 400 Chinese cities, and completed 1.4 billion rides in 2015 alone.
By comparison, Uber is active in 60 cities across China, with plans to reach 100 cities by 2016, an Uber spokesperson told Tech Insider. Uber declined to provide data on the number of riders and users it has in China.
That’s not to say Uber is out of the competition by any means.
“We’ve gone from 1% market share at the beginning of 2015 to a third of the market by the end of the year – and we’re still growing incredibly quickly, particularly as we push into more cities,” an Uber spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that when Uber launched in Hefei, China in March 2016, it captured 50% of the local ridesharing in three weeks. That was after Didi had been there for an entire year.
But where Didi has an edge is with its multi-product platform. And that could end up hurting Uber in the long run, especially with the backing of a tech giant like Apple.
Didi offers seven services through its app, some of which are similar to Uber. Didi lets you hail a private car, just like Uber Black, or carpool with others to a given location, like UberPOOL. You can also hail a taxi cab through Didi, a service that’s only available in New York City for Uber.
But the app does offer services that aren’t available through Uber. You can book a chauffeur for an extended period of time, find and purchase tickets for a bus, and even test drive a car you’re interested in buying.
“What we need from China is not just a cool app for the middle- to upper-class, but a multi-product platform that offers a full range of service,” Liang Sun, head of communications for Didi, told Tech Insider.
Perhaps more importantly, Didi is integrated with a lot of services that are wildly popular in China. The app is integrated with AliPay, a payment service that lets you transfer money like Venmo. It’s also integrated with WeChat, which boasts 500 million active Chinese users per month.
Where Uber thinks it has an edge is with the app itself. An Uber spokesperson said the app’s algorithm is stronger, making it a better experience for both drivers and riders.
Uber and Didi both use surge pricing, but in very different ways. Uber uses an algorithm that will determine the price of a ride based on factors like demand and weather. Didi’s surge price will also depend on similar factors, but allows drivers to override the system and choose to accept a ride without a surge.
This way, if someone wants to travel a longer distance that will result in a higher pay-out for the driver anyway, the driver can bid for a rider by eliminating the surge.
Uber’s stance is that makes things too complicated for both the rider and driver.
“Riders love the simplicity, convenience, and affordability Uber offers, and as long as we continue to innovate and provide the best possible experience to them we’re confident we’ll do very well,” the spokesperson said.
But Didi thinks the underlying algorithm of its app is only getting stronger. Sun said this has been proven by how easy it was for Didi to take over the ride-hailing market.
“In 2014, there were literally dozens of aspiring taxi hailing apps in China, and we ended up consolidating the market,” she said.
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