Chinese travel giant Ctrip partners with Splyt to push into international ride-hailing, setting up Didi clash
The new ride-hailing feature offers greater convenience to Chinese tourists overseas and taps into the growing trend where a range of services can be offered within a single app
Ctrip, China’s largest online travel services provider, will allow users to book a ride on its app as they travel across the world through a partnership with London-based ride-hailing marketplace Splyt, a move that pits it against Chinese car-hailing giant Didi Chuxing in overseas markets.
Users of Shanghai-based Ctrip, which offers mobile applications for services such as hotel reservations, flight ticketing and package tours, will be to access local ride services in over 1,000 cities in 50 countries without the need to download a new app, and can pay on Ctrip using their local currency, according to a statement by Splyt last week.
Auto-translation will also be available to make communication between users and local drivers easier. Splyt does not operate its own ride-hailing service but integrates on-demand transport platforms in different destinations, such as Dubai-based Careem in the Middle East and Madrid’s Cabify in Europe and Latin America.
The new ride-hailing feature offers greater convenience to Chinese tourists travelling overseas and taps into the growing trend where a range of services can be offered to users within a single app, at the tap of a finger. Chinese travellers are forecast to make more than 200 million outbound trips annually by 2020, up from about 130 million outbound trips last year, according to estimates from the China National Tourism Administration.
“With this new partnership, [Ctrip users] will be able to access a comprehensive, tailored, and convenient ride-hailing marketplace without ever needing to leave our app,” Chris An, head of Ctrip's International Ground Transport Department, said in the statement.
The global ride-railing feature is available on Ctrip now and will be added to Trip.com, its overseas brand, later this year. Ctrip has been stepping up its global presence with a string of acquisitions, including India’s largest online travel agency MakeMyTrip and UK-based price comparison travel search site Skyscanner. It also acquired Silicon Valley-based start-up Trip.com in November last year and relaunched it in the same month as Ctrip’s global brand.
The New York-listed company’s partnership with Splyt sets up a ride-hailing battle with Chinese on-demand transport giant Didi in international markets. Ctrip entered the domestic ride-hailing market earlier this year after it was granted a licence to offer web-enabled ride services in China.
Didi, which has over 450 million riders and processes about 30 million rides on an average day in China, has been stepping up its global expansion to serve outbound Chinese tourists and local markets. Taking on Uber in overseas markets, it has started operations in Australia, Taiwan, Japan and Mexico.
Didi has also been on an acquisition spree over the past few years, investing in Grab and Ola in Asia, Lyft in the US, 99 in Brazil, Taxify in Europe and Careem in Dubai, which together serve a combined 80 per cent of the world’s population, according to the company.