Top car-hailing app Didi Kuaidi teams up with LinkedIn to improve user experience, give both brands a boost in China
Didi Kuaidi, operator of China’s top ride-hailing mobile application, is joining forces with professional networking platform LinkedIn to further develop both companies’ operations in the country.
That strategic partnership was announced on Wednesday by the two companies on the sidelines of the eighth US-China Internet Industry Forum in Seattle, Washington, which Chinese President Xi Jinping attended.
Didi, which last week announced a US$100 million investment in US on-demand transport provider Lyft, said in a statement that it will work with LinkedIn in product integration, staff recruitment, information technology and brand development.
“The two companies will collaborate in developing algorithms and machine learning capabilities to improve their user experience and create new market opportunities,” the statement said.
Their initial collaboration will involve “Hitch”, the popular carpooling service launched in June by Didi for urban commuters in mainland China.
Didi recently rebranded itself to distance itself from the negative stigma associated with being an illegal taxi service amid a backlash in China from established taxi companies that has spurred a government clampdown.
It changed the name of its main app from Didi Dache to Didi Chuxing, which means “commute” in English, to also encompass its broadening portfolio that includes private car, carpooling, bus, chauffeur and taxi-hailing services.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed by Didi and LinkedIn, users of Hitch will be able to connect their LinkedIn accounts to the carpooling platform.
Didi said that link will enable Hitch to enhance its networking function by targeting professionals, who represent a big part of its user base.
LinkedIn, which has more than 300 million users worldwide, had around 10 million users in mainland China as of July, according to LinkedIn China president Derek Shen.
Didi’s fast-growing Hitch service has already attracted more than five million registered drivers since its launch. Hitch lets drivers and passengers share the cost of commuting, while enabling social and professional networking among users.
At present, Didi provides services to more than 200 million users across mainland China.
In North America, LinkedIn is expected to support Didi’s talent recruitment efforts as it expands operations outside of China through its Lyft investment.
“This collaboration is expected to set an example for other Chinese internet enterprises looking to recruit and develop global talent,” the Didi statement said.
The company’s expansion initiatives received a major boost earlier this month, after raising US$3 billion from its latest round of financing.
That financing was led by new investors China Investment Corp, Capital International Private Equity Fund, and Ping An Ventures, among others.
Existing investors Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings, Temasek and Coatue Management also participated in the round.
At around the same time, one of its top competitors, San Francisco-based Uber, raised US$1.2 billion in funding.
Didi, which grew from the merger in February of Chinese taxi-hailing app operators Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, currently offers comprehensive transportation services in more than 360 Chinese cities.