The DiDi Hitch Draws Nearer
COVID-19 and China
DiDi Hitch Open Day. Liu huan for EqualOcean

China’s largest ride-hailing platform DiDi Chuxing published its safety solutions for Hitch on July 18, signaling the mobility giant’s urges to relaunch the controversial service.

DiDi has iterated 12 versions and optimized 226 functions for Hitch in the past 325 days since it was suspended last August. The firm touted its special women protection plan in the press release, along with a set of safety procedures – market entry, reprotection, during-the-ride protection, and after-ride protection solutions.

“We make Hitch matches riders heading in the same direction, and we guarantee the rides are authenticated” is a mission that DiDi put forward during the Open Day. The claim is similar to its competitors, Dida Chuxing, which started its business by focusing on Hitch-like carpooling services at the beginning with a much lower price to compete with DiDi. Dida moved into taxi business last year.

Hitch, a service akin to an online version of hitchhiking, was “suspended indefinitely” by the firm after a young female passenger was killed by a Didi Hitch driver last August. DiDi’s lapses in security and safety courted itself waves of blaming and also authorities’ on-site investigations to identify potential public security and passenger safety hazards.

DiDi is reportedly testing the service in May and now it throws out its “promised” safety mechanism and speeches, as the firm fights back against a stagnant daily rides growth. It is also occupied with other stuff: to fend off small local rivals like Dida Chuxing, Meituan Dianping, and Autonavi; to raise up to USD 2 billion from investors by selling additional shares at the same price when Booking Holdings invested it in July 2018.“At the new USD 62 billion valuation, DiDi would rank in the top three private tech companies globally, after Ant Financial Services Group and Bytedance Ltd.," the Wall Street Journal said in the release.

DiDi, to be the third valuable private firm worldwide, still feels "unsecured" if it can not get its Hitch service back, a business that brings 2 million daily rides. 

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