Didi to launch express service in Melbourne

  • Didi to launch express service in Melbourne

Didi to launch express service in Melbourne

It cemented its spot as China's biggest ride-hailing firm when it bought Uber's operations in the country in 2016.

Didi Chuxing, China's answer to Uber, announced today (June 15) it will expand into Australia starting June 25 in Melbourne.

The launch of DiDi Express in Australia brings the service into competition with Uber and Australian-owned Go-Catch, as well as Estonian company Taxify, which entered Australia a year ago, and Ola, which launched in Perth earlier in 2018 and now operates in Melbourne and four other Australian cities.

Chinese mobile transport success story Didi Chuxing is launching its DiDi Express ride-sharing services in Melbourne, making Australia the platform's first English-speaking market.

Nickie Scriven, Zenith Australia's CEO, added: "We are delighted to be appointed as DiDi's lead agency as we launch DiDi into the Australian market".

The company, which expanded its services to Mexico recently, is in the midst of a major global expansion.

It is also set to enter Japan where it has teamed up with investor SoftBank on a joint-venture.

Operating locally as a wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, DiDi said it is their mission to improve the world's transportation experience with AI technology.

The Uber deal brought with it a stock swap - turning Didi and Uber from competitors into stakeholders - and the Chinese company has also backed Grab in Southeast Asia, Lyft in the U.S., Ola in India, Careem in the Middle East and - more recently - Taxify, which is primarily focused on Europe and Africa.

Uber is already facing other challengers in Australia.

That might be a small insight into Didi's relationship with Ola. A 21-year-old female passenger was killed by her driver, prompting Didi Chuxing to work on an "escort mode" that will be launched on June 22.

"The ride-hailing industry is still a young business, and the potential for growth is substantial". Competition exists in ride-hailing, like in any flourishing industry. Taxify and Ola did not immediately respond to Quartz's request for comment.