Watch out Uber, and all its competitors, one of the world's largest players has finally arrived in town, operating in Australia under its wholly owned subsidiary DiDi Mobility (Australia) Pty. Ltd. (“DiDi Australia”).
DiDi says its entry into Australia marks "a new milestone in its outreach to global communities".
Referencing "Australia’s diversified mobility needs, business-friendly environment and inclusive culture", DiDi says it has been encouraged "to commit to a long-term investment to improve mobility solutions across the country".
Indeed, as I sit here in my hotel room at just after 7am, waiting for the third and final day of CES Asia 2018 to commence, the rise of China is inexorable, and its companies growing ever stronger on an international basis.
So, to celebrate its launch, DiDi says it will offer "attractive welcome programs to both passengers and drivers in Melbourne".
Riders can download the DiDi app today and will be able to receive 50% off their DiDi Express ride from 25 June until the end of July, with DiDi noting that "Riders will receive a 50% discount, capped at a maximum value of $10 per trip and a maximum of two trips per day until the end of July. See DiDi app for full terms and conditions".
Meanwhile, drivers will enjoy a flat and transparent commission rate of 20% in addition to introductory cash bonuses for completing 20 trips with DiDi, with the company noting: "Drivers who register before 25 June (pre-launch) will receive a $200 bonus after competing 20 trips within 7 days. Drivers who register from 25 June onwards (post-launch) will receive a $100 bonus after completing 20 trips within 7 days. See DiDi app for full terms and conditions."
DiDi has also "opened a driver hub in Tullamarine to onboard and prepare drivers for the upcoming Melbourne launch. Interested drivers are encouraged to download the DiDi Driver app today or visit the driver hub for more information", with DiDi stating that the "hub is located at 18 Trevi Cres, Tullamarine, VIC 3043".
So, what about the all-important app?
Well, DiDi says its app features "comprehensive safety features such as privacy numbers, itinerary sharing for riders and strict driver vetting processes".
"It is also the only ride-sharing app in Australia to offer 24/7 phone support to both riders and drivers. As DiDi grows in Australia it will introduce additional product features that will further improve its efficiency, safety and reliability."
Following a successful beta launch in Geelong last month, DiDi tells us "local driver recruitment for Melbourne commenced in early June, and the response DiDi has received to date has been positive".
"Feedback from drivers and passengers in Melbourne and Geelong will be used to shape product offerings and user experience in Australia, and for the launch of DiDi Express in other cities. The team is dedicated to working closely with local users and partners to make meaningful contributions to cities and communities in Australia."
DiDi says it "believes in the power of combining global technology capabilities with locally-nuanced operations to bring safer, more efficient and innovative mobility services to market", and has "gradually increased its international footprint by recently expanding its services into Greater China and Latin America".
In each market, DiDi says it will "apply its global technology and R&D capabilities locally to develop and adapt advanced technologies and algorithm models. DiDi also looks forward to building public-private partnerships to improve traffic governance with our smart transportation capabilities and experience, with the aim of contributing to urban sustainability around the world."
Proudly boasting of offering "a full range of app-based transportation options for 550 million users, including Taxi, Express, Premier, Luxe, Hitch, Bus, Minibus, Designated Driving, Enterprise Solutions, Bike, and food delivery", the company states that "daily rides have reached 30 million, allowing over 21 million drivers on the DiDi platform to find flexible work and income opportunities".
The company says it is "committed to collaborating with cities, the taxi industry and communities to solve the world’s transportation, environmental, and employment challenges with smart transportation innovations. The company is working with a growing alliance of car industry players to build out an auto-solution and operation platform".
"Globally, DiDi is in a partnership network with Grab, Lyft, Ola, Uber, 99, Taxify, and Careem, reaching over 80% of the world’s population and covering more than 1000 cities. In 2018, DiDi launched its own-branded mobility services in Mexico and Australia. By continuously improving the user experience and creating social value, DiDi strives to build an open, efficient, and sustainable transportation ecosystem."