Founded in 2012, DiDi is China's largest ride-hailing service with more than 600 million users worldwide. Picture: SUPPLIED
Founded in 2012, DiDi is China's largest ride-hailing service with more than 600 million users worldwide. Picture: SUPPLIED

Ride-hailing firm DiDi will start operations in Gauteng on Aug. 23 after successful launches in Gqeberha and Cape Town earlier this year.

The latest service includes Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and Pretoria in competition with Uber and Bolt, though Uber in China is owned by DiDi. Founded in 2012, China’s top ride-hailing company now has more than 600 million users in 17 countries, the most recent launches being SA, Ecuador and Kazakhstan.

DiDi has pioneering safety features, according to Carina Smith-Allin, the company’s head of PR and communications for Sub-Saharan Africa. They include facial recognition for drivers, SOS buttons for riders and drivers linked to the local police, 24/7 support via a dedicated safety hotline, preview information for riders and drivers, and safety training for drivers.

Adaptable geofencing allows drivers to avoid servicing unsafe areas, while the platform’s recording monitor checks for any unusual activity during trips, including a change in routes or accidents. It also has an option to unmatch a driver or rider. Drivers also have control over the areas they service based on safety issues and rider availability.

Driver-partners will be able to sign up from Aug. 23 and earn up to R15,000 in bonuses for referring riders to DiDi, Smith-Allin said.

The DiDi smartphone app is available for download via Apple’s App Store and at Google Play.

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