Tencent invests in Chinese taxi app

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 1:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 1:28am

Tencent, Asia's largest internet company, invested in the mainland's cab reservation app Didi Taxi as part of plans to promote its payment service to users accessing the web through mobile devices.

Tencent was one of the investors in Didi Taxi's US$100 million fund-raising effort, Jerry Huang, a director of investor relations at Tencent, said on Wednesday.

Didi Taxi, created by Beijing Xiaoju Keji Didi Dache, works with more than 300,000 taxis and operates in 30 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, according to its app description.

Users of Tencent's instant-messaging app WeChat on the mainland could pay for Didi Taxi bookings using the payment service on the app, Huang said.

"Tencent might see a lot of potential in the taxi booking market," said Yang Yang, an analyst at internet consulting group IResearch. "Tencent's payment service could become the main tool for taxi payments in the future and this effectively promotes it."

Tencent is seeking a bigger share of the mobile services market by adding more games to WeChat. The company bought a stake in Activision Blizzard in July and invested in South Korean messaging-app company Kakao in April 2012, according to its annual report.

Didi Taxi said it had 5.2 million users on the mainland at the end of July.

On Wednesday, Alibaba, owner of the mainland's biggest e-commerce business, said it would start a platform hosting mobile games, putting it in competition with Tencent.