OnTime, a ride-hailing platform backed by Tencent Holdings and Guangzhou Automobile Group, will become the latest player to enter China’s mobility market, the world’s biggest, when it rolls out services later this month. The Guangzhou-based start-up will begin services in the city before expanding into the Greater Bay Area – a southern China business hub that covers Hong Kong, Macau and nine Guangdong cities – marking the arrival of yet another new challenger to maker leader Didi Chuxing. To kick start the service, OnTime announced on its Weibo account that users would be able to hail a ride for a mere 0.01 yuan amid soft operations in Guangzhou this Thursday and Friday, before the full launch. The foray comes as China’s ride-hailing market heats up after Didi beat Uber out of the country in exchange for a minority stake in 2016. Both Didi and OnTime count Tencent as a major backer, while other investors in the Guangzhou-based start-up include Guangzhou Automobile Group and Guangzhou Public Transport. Didi opens the door to rivals as super app fight hots up An increasing number of carmakers have also been piling into the market. Last month, electric vehicle start-up Xpeng Motors launched a mobility service in Guangzhou and in November BMW announced it had secured a ride hailing permit for Chengdu, making it the first global carmaker to gain such access in China. A car-hailing platform backed by state carmaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation also began trial operations in Shanghai last year. Didi – backed by tech giants Apple, Tencent and Alibaba Group Holding among others – has long been vaunted as market leader after triumphing over arch-rival Kuaidi, gaining its Uber-slayer title and ending a cutthroat subsidy war. The Beijing-based company has a market penetration of 88 per cent in China’s ride-hailing market, according to industry estimates. The competition is getting tougher though. Earlier this month, Meituan Dianping launched its aggregated ride-hailing service in 10 Chinese cities including Beijing, enabling users to compare offers from several platforms such as Geely’s Caocao Car and Shouqi, and hail a ride via the Meituan app. Didi has also opened its platform to smaller rival companies for the first time, in a pilot program in Chengdu where users can choose to hail a ride dispatched by Miaozou, a mobility unit under travel platform Tongcheng. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.