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Didi Chuxing

China’s Didi Chuxing continues its international push with trial service in Australia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 2:13pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 2:34pm

Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing company that defeated Uber Technologies in mainland China, is eyeing a new overseas market that would see it go head-to-head with its former domestic rival.

The Beijing-based company has started a trial operation in the Australian city of Geelong and is preparing to roll out services to other parts of the country later this year, according to a Didi spokesperson.

The expansion comes on the heels of the ride-hailing giant’s move into Taiwan, Japan and Mexico. To build its global network, 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.

The company’s long term goal is to become the biggest transport platform globally within 10 years, serving more than 2 billion customers, Didi’s chief executive Cheng Wei said at a briefing in Beijing last month.

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“We hope the revolutionary ride-sharing services in China can serve as a strong reference point across the world,” Cheng said at the event. “Ride-sharing is an opportunity for China to change lanes and overtake other countries.”

While the Australian move will see Didi go up against Uber, the Chinese company is not known to have plans to take on Uber in its home market of the US any time soon. Cheng said the need for ride-sharing in the US is not as “dire” as in China, where the company boasts serving over 450 million riders and processing about 30 million rides on an average day. Last year, Didi handled 7.4 billion trips, compared with Uber’s 4 billion.

In Australia, Uber is not the only competitor Didi would face. Indian ride-hailing platform Ola announced its expansion into the country earlier this year. Didi has invested in Ola and both companies share the same backer in Japan’s Softbank.

Ola has rolled out services in six Australian cities, including Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra, according to a company statement issued Tuesday.

The move also comes amid Didi’s reported plan to seek an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The company is preparing to list as early as the second half of this year with a valuation of US$70 billion to US$80 billion, according to a report by the Hong Kong Economic Times, citing unidentified people.