Uber vs Didi Taxi

Over the last few years, many visitors to China, who don’t have their own transport, have been asking themselves the question – Uber or Didi Taxi? They have, I’ve heard them, chattering to each other about it in restaurants and muttering away to themselves on street corners. I’ve tried to get their attention to explain it to them, but they always think I’m begging for money. So I’ve gone and done it. Here it is. What they need to do is read this article. Then they’ll know, and they need to take sides, because one of the greatest battles going on in the world is between Uber and Didi Taxi. Forget iphone v android, forget Hale v Triumph, forget Ali v Frazier you can even forget Trump v Clinton. Uber v Didi Taxi is the one you need to know about.

Where Have You Been?

What am I talking about? It just occurred to me that there might be some readers who don’t know what the Didi Taxi App is. There might even be some who don’t know what Uber is. Is that possible? In China we sometimes think that our world is the only world there is. There are a billion and a half of us so please find it in your heart to forgive our ignorance. There, I feel better. And I hope you do too dumbo, who’s never heard of Didi Taxi App. I’m joking. There are only 1.357 billion people in China, give or take a 100,000 or two.

Didi Taxi App is Coming

The Didi Taxi App is a mobile platform taxi-calling application developed in China in 2012. ‘Didi Dache’ (‘Dache’ meaning ‘taxi calling’) is the name of the company that came up with the app. If you don’t live in China, it’s possible you won’t have heard of it. But you will. Didi Taxi App is coming and you can’t prevent it. It’s a very convenient and efficient way to get a taxi on those nights when you’re in a hurry and every taxi that passes you has a body in the passenger seat and maybe a couple in the back seat. Cheng Wei, the founder of Didi Dache, famously said that he missed flights a few times because he couldn’t hail a cab in Beijing and then invented the Didi Taxi App as he didn’t want to miss any more flights.

Uber Joins the Market

Uber is an American based company that began in 2009. Uber also uses an app that you put on your smart phone and use to submit a trip request, which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars to pick you up. The legality of Uber has been challenged by governments and taxi drivers, who allege that its use of drivers who are not licensed or trained to drive taxis is unsafe and illegal. Uber entered the Chinese market in August 2013, but has consistently lost money over the last few years. It’s estimated that Uber has lost a billion dollars a year in their efforts to compete with Didi taxi, which is simply more popular in China. Uber is generally cheaper than a traditional taxi fare, but a Didi Taxi fare is cheaper still.

Didi Taxi’s Features

Didi Taxi has over 3.35 million drivers who now operate in 300 Chinese cities, with over 20 million calls daily for taxis. It has 400,000 drivers, who answer 10.5 million calls a day. Didi Dache has invested aggressively, which has allowed them to consolidate their dominant position in the market. In 2015, Didi Dache made profits of around US $12 billion. They aim to pick up over 30 million passengers a day and have 15 million drivers in China by 2019. The drivers of Didi Taxis exhibit high levels of taxi etiquette and it is described as a customer-friendly service. The client receives treats such as juice and candy. Free internet and magazines are provided. In China Didi Taxis have a better reputation than Uber.

It’s a Draw – Maybe

This article is essentially for the five and half billion of you who don’t live in China, because the battle in China between Didi Taxi and Uber has just concluded in a kind of draw. On Monday 1st August Didi and Uber China merged. Cheng Wei, the chairman of Didi Dache will sit on Uber China’s board and Travis Kalanick, Uber Chief Executive, will sit on the board of Didi. They will both keep their brand name, but will work together to ensure profits for both. In the rest of the world, however, the battle is just beginning. Uber is way ahead of Didi Taxi, in that regard, already operating in a number of countries. But Didi Taxi is in the process of looking beyond China’s shores. Didi Taxi and Uber are about to lock horns on a street near you, wherever you may be.

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