China ride-hailing giant Didi weighs foray into hotel-booking business in potential clash with Meituan, Ctrip
- Didi plans to enter hotel-booking via strategic partnerships, person familiar with company’s discussions says
- Didi received US$500 million investment from Booking Holdings in July
Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, is considering a foray into the hotel-booking business that would potentially set it up for another head-on fight with market leaders Meituan Dianping and Ctrip, according to people familiar with the matter.
Beijing-based Didi’s exploration of the business is at an early stage, the people said, asking not to be named as the discussions are private. The plan, which was first reported by Chinese financial media outlet Caijing over the weekend, follows a US$500 million investment it received from Booking Holdings, owner of online brands such as Priceline and Agoda, in July.
Didi is keeping an eye on hotel reservations and any foray into the business would likely be mainly through strategic partners, such as Booking Holdings and Oyo, one of the people said. A Didi spokesman dismissed any plan for an official launch of a new business “in the near future”, while adding that it is still “fully focused on safety and operational upgrades”.
The company is striving to emerge from a public safety crisis after two female passengers were allegedly murdered by their drivers. A review of public court records by the South China Morning Post showed at least a dozen previous sexual assault convictions involving Didi drivers and their passengers. The company has vowed to place safety over expansion and introduced a number of features that it says will improve the safety of users of its ride-hailing services.
A potential entry by Didi into hotel reservations would increase the competition with Ctrip and Meituan Dianping, which have branched out into ride-hailing.
Meituan has almost half of the mainland’s online hotel booking market in the second quarter, followed by combined 31.8 per cent by Ctrip and Qunar, according to statistics provider Trustdata.
Meanwhile, Didi is expected to invest in the Indian budget hotel booking platform Oyo, the Times of India reported last month. The new funding is likely to bankroll Oyo’s operations in China, which started in November last year, it said.
Founded in 2012 by Cheng Wei, Didi counts Chinese technology giants Tencent Holdings, Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding – parent company of the Post – among its shareholders. The company is said to be exploring an initial public offering.