DiDi will start offering ride-hailing services in the Western Cape. Picture: SUPPLIED
DiDi will start offering ride-hailing services in the Western Cape. Picture: SUPPLIED

China’s top ride-hailing firm, DiDi Chuxing, has begun operating in SA as a competitor to Uber and Bolt.

Following a pilot launch in Gqeberha on March 1 2021, it has started its registration process for drivers in Cape Town and will start offering ride-hailing services in the Western Cape over the next few weeks.

More than 2,000 Cape Town drivers have downloaded the DiDi Drivers app, says the company.

Founded in 2012, DiDi offers a range of app-based transportation options to more than 550-million users in Asia, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and Russia, including taxis, designated drivers, and food and groceries delivery.

Although it competes with Uber locally, in 2016 DiDi acquired Uber China.

The launch of DiDi in SA joins the company’s growing network of international markets which now includes 14 countries outside of China.

More than just another ride-hailing service, DiDi focuses on providing high-level resources, safe and flexible entrepreneurship opportunities for driver-partners, and reliable mobility options for the public, says Lyn Ma, DiDi’s GM for Africa.

“In a country like SA, where unemployment rates and safety are major concerns, this platform is not only much-needed but highly valuable. Our platform creates better income opportunities for drivers and safer and more affordable mobility alternatives for the people of Cape Town, and hopefully the rest of SA very soon,” he says.

DiDi has a range of safety features including 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.

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