Car-hailing app Didi Kuaidi partners with second major Chinese city to crack down on illegal cabs, cement its legal status
Didi Kuaidi, China’s leading ride-hailing app, will work with a second local government to help authorities in the southern Chinese city verify information on taxi drivers that use the app and crack down on illegal cabs operating without licences, it said this week.
The company, whose operations have invited a backlash from established taxi monopolies this year, will create a taxi information service platform with the municipal government of Zhuhai in Guangdong province to better share industry data and resources, it said on Wednesday.
In a joint statement, the two parties said that sharing data will improve the city’s transportation system and help make people’s commutes easier and safer.
Didi Kuaidi launched a similar platform in cooperation with authorities in Shanghai on June 1. A number of big taxi companies in China are government-backed and view such apps as a threat.
Different cities in China have yet to standardise how they deal with ride-hailing apps, but top market players Didi Kuaidi, Ucar, Yongche and San Francisco-based Uber were ordered this month to “restructure” their operations in line with national regulations.
Didi Kuaidi delivered the news of its latest deal on the same day media reports surfaced of a Chinese woman being robbed and sexually assaulted in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu on August 5 by a driver for US car-hailing firm Uber.
But safety concerns are unlikely to be greatly allayed by the agreement as the Zhuhai transportation authority will only be able to verify information on taxis and drivers that have registered with Didi Kuaidi.
The platform won’t help it check on drivers of privately owned cars, according to the statement.
Didi Kuaidi was born of a merger in February between China’s top two rivals in this fledgling industry. It now controls over 90 per cent of the domestic taxi-hailing market.
Resistance to car-hailing apps continues to gain momentum in countries like France and China. Furious taxi drivers on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong have recently organised go-slow campaigns and attacked cars and drivers of the rival services, which they blame for eating into their business.
In China, police raided Uber’s offices in Sichuan’s Chengdu and Guangzhou in Guangdong in May, while Beijing declared the Chinese company's private car-hailing services illegal in June.
Uber was also targeted in a recent police sting operation in Hong Kong that led to a number of arrests and detentions.