Didi Chuxing eyes global growth as next step after Uber China merger
China’s Didi Chuxing is planning to expand into global markets outside of China and could potentially partner with local ride-sharing players overseas, according to an executive.
Jean Liu, president of Didi Chuxing, said at a US technology conference on Tuesday that Didi “aspire[s] to be a global company”, adding that it is evaluating new international markets and could work with or even compete against local players.
She also said that Didi may directly compete in markets where there are no strong local ride-sharing companies.
Liu’s comments represent a shift in strategy. Prior to merging with Uber China in August, the company was largely focused gaining a larger share of its domestic market and competed fiercely with Uber China.
In an effort to combat Uber’s global expansion, Didi also formed an alliance with other local ride-sharing companies in different regions. The alliance partners included Southeast Asia’s Grab, India’s Ola as well as Uber’s main US rival Lyft, in which all members agreed to share technology, local knowledge and business resources. Didi also poured US$100 million into Lyft, and invested in Grab and Ola.
In April, Didi and Lyft launched a cross-platform service in the US, allowing Didi users to hail a Lyft ride in the US through the Didi app.
“Didi has already dominated the Chinese market following the deal with Uber China, and going international will be a way for new growth for the company ,” said Kitty Fok, managing director of research firm IDC China.
“As a home-grown company in China, Didi will have good knowledge on how to tackle ride-sharing and what sort of features would work in a developing market. This could give Didi an advantage [over other international rivals] if they plan to expand into other emerging markets in Asia.”
Fok also added that expanding into countries where third party payment services like Alipay or WeChat Wallet already operate would be beneficial to Didi, since it would be easy to integrate into its existing app and acquire users by offering subsidies as it did in China with red packets or coupons.
Liu’s comments on Didi’s international expansion came at the same time as the company’s announcement on Tuesday that Uber China will expand into 400 cities in China by the end of 2016, following a revamp of its app which will offer two main services, “People’s Uber+” and “Uber Black”.