China’s ride-hailing giants follow tourists abroad
Chinese travelers can book a ride overseas without leaving Didi Chuxing and Ctrip’s native apps
Seven million Chinese tourists -- equivalent to the entire population of the US state of Washington -- are expected to travel abroad during Golden Week, an annual holiday underway in China.
And this year, there’s one piece of Chinese technology they don’t need to leave behind: Ride-hailing apps from home.
A quick look through the app shows the feature is available in popular destinations for Chinese tourists, such as Tokyo, Bali, Bangkok, Seoul, and Singapore. Other major cities listed include Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, London, Paris and New York.
Catering to Chinese travelers is a big business: This year, people in China are forecast to make 200 million trips overseas. Chinese companies also have a unique edge over global rivals, who are less familiar to consumers from China.
Alibaba and Tencent, among others, are at the forefront of capturing this growing opportunity.
Last year, thousands of taxis in New York and Las Vegas started accepting digital payments from Alipay. Apparel company Guess and dozens of outlets in San Francisco’s Pier 39, like Bubba Gump Shrimp and Ben & Jerry’s, have also adopted the platform. And WeChat Pay, too, is making similar inroads into North America.
And the trend is only beginning. As more Chinese cities get direct flights to overseas destinations, the number of outbound tourists is only going to grow -- and so will the lure for Chinese companies to follow them abroad.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)