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Ride-Hailing Competition Toughens as Didi Plans to Expand in Sydney
COVID-19 and China
The famous Sydney Opera House. Image credit: Liam Pozz/Unsplash

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Didi officially entered the Australian market in 2018 and has announced a further expansion of its services in Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, starting March 16. The Chinese ride-hailing giant is already running its services in seven other cities in Australia, including Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, with over 2 million riders. 

In Sydney, Didi International Passenger Terminal will provide express and seven-seater services. Didi also plans to launch the roaming function of the Greater China Passenger Terminal (Didi Greater China App) in Sydney. Users visiting Sydney will then be able to call the express service via the Chinese interface of the Didi App.

Marin, General Manager of Didi Australia, said: “Sydney is an important economic and cultural center in the world, and our presence in Sydney is a milestone for Didi. Didi hopes to work with Sydney's transport industry partners to use advanced artificial intelligence technology and local operations expertise to drive innovation, optimize services and make Didi the platform of choice for everyone.”

According to China News, Didi Australia implements strict driver registration audits, has established a comprehensive safety guarantee system and provides users with 24/7 customer service support.

This news comes just a few days after New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal said that the growth rate of carpool services in the state was slowing.

According to the organization's data, compared with the double-digit growth over the years, the growth rate of carpool services has slowed to 3%, indicating that the NSW market may have reached saturation.

Earlier this month, there were reports of multiple drivers being diagnosed with coronavirus, clouding prospects for an industry already hit hard by government-imposed travel restrictions across the country.

According to a Didi Australian spokesperson, the company claims that Didi, while offering lower expenses for passengers, will also increase driver income and has no worries about entering Sydney's highly competitive market.

Unlike its fellow Chinese raid-hailing firms DiDi has set foot in many countries. Other than Australia it does business in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile. It also has stakes in ride-hailing platforms Grab and Ola in Asia, Lyft in the United States, Taxify in Europe and Careem in the Middle East.

According to the company it offers transport services via its apps for 550 million users in China and abroad. Tens of millions of drivers on its platform provide more than 10 billion passenger trips in a year. 

It is understood that Latin America is one of regions with the fastest growth in Internet traffic in the world, with up to 200 million connected users.

Uber entered the Latin American market back in 2013. As of the end of 2019, Uber had launched taxi and takeaway services in 16 countries in the region and in January, Brazil became its most important market. 

In order to gain pace in its competition with archrival Uber, Didi first invested USD 100 million in a Brazilian local taxi software company called 99, and then acquired the company in January 2018 for USD 900 million, thus becoming the largest taxi application in the Brazilian market.

Later in April 2018, Didi stepped into Uber-dominated Mexican market. After more than a year of expansion in the country, Didi till now has provided online car rental, taxi and takeaway services in 32 cities in Mexico, covering more than half of the country's population.

Mexico has become Didi Chuxing's largest overseas market, with Didi Chuxing having a local market share of up to 30%; at the same time, Mexico has become the worst-performing Uber market in Latin America.

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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