Didi launches cross-border services in US via tie-up with Lyft
Users of Chinese car-hailing app will be able to request rides in almost 200 American cities
China’s leading car-hailing app, Didi Chuxing, has revealed details of a tie-up that will allow its 300 million Chinese users to request rides while travelling in the United States.
From this week, Didi’s users, most registered on the mainland, would be able to request rides using the Didi app to access the driver network of Lyft in almost 200 major US cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Washington, the company said on Tuesday.
Lyft users would be able to use similar services from Didi’s network when roaming in China in the second quarter of this year, it added.
Didi is looking to beat rival Uber around the world with help from its partners.
Didi made a big splash in March last year when it invested US$100 million in on-demand transport provider Lyft, which operates in more than 190 cities in the US.
In December, Didi announced a partnership with US-based Lyft, India’s Ola and GrabTaxi of Singapore to build an extensive ride-share alliance covering nearly half the world’s population.
More roaming products between Didi and other partners were expected to be launched across China, the US, South Asia and Southeast Asia, said Li Zijian, Didi’s senior director for international strategy.
“We are focusing on offering our mainland users best products and best user experience when they travel overseas,” he said. “Localisation is very important for us and we need to cooperate with strong partners in the local market.”
He said Didi was not planning any mergers in the near future but would work closely with customers and partners to maximise development opportunities in various markets.
To attract Chinese tourists, Didi’s new cross-border services will feature the same Chinese user interface as on the mainland plus on-demand, human Chinese–English translation assistance for driver-passenger communication and around the clock emergency customer service support in both English and Chinese.
China is now the fourth-largest source of international travellers to the US while the US is the third-largest source of travellers to China, according to the China National Tourism Administration.
An average of 2.1 million US tourists and travellers have visiting China a year recently, while 2.56 million Chinese tourists and travellers visited the US last year, according to the US Commerce Department, with the number projected to rise to 2.97 million this year.