Since last May 5th, Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行), the Chinese ride-sharing application, reaffirmed its overseas ambition in rolling out an English App. As a reminder, last 1st August 2016, the firm backed up by Apple, announced a merger with Uber China in a venture that worth about $35 billion. After this agreement, Didi took over the American start-up’s operations in China. Then, they chose first to focus on Chinese users and removed Uber’s English app letting non-Chinese speakers with a real need.
Testing the app on local foreigners today to spread abroad tomorrow
Didi is now setting up an overseas strategy, and as announced last February, have formed an international division. Indeed, according to Fortune “one of the top priorities for Didi this year” is to go global. In this aim, they raised $5.5 billion and began the second evaluated startup just behind Uber (60$) with a private valuation that worth more than $50 billion. The upgrade application is now including useful features for non-Chinese speakers. For example, the English application – which is currently in trial closed version – will offer real-time messaging translation between the driver and his passenger, or the payment by international credit cards which is a real asset for targeting travelers and business people who don’t stay long enough to open a local banking account.
Available first in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, this upgrade is the first step for Didi’s overseas spreading to come. Indeed, over a million of foreigners are working and living in China which is the perfect target to try the English version.
Didi’s English Upgrade: Get ready for opportunities to come
According to Didi, “as an international economic and cultural hub, China increasingly attracts tourists, business travelers, and expatriates,” then it’s an obligation to adapt the offer to this increasing target. Indeed, in 2016, revenues for Chinese tourism industry amount to RMB 3420 billion according to Statista. The growing sector of tourism is already bringing more and more consumer to China. For example, this is the reason why Airbnb (爱彼迎, read “Aibiying “welcoming with love”) is booming in China and plans to double their investment in the country. Moreover, by 2020, the WTO (World Tourism Organization) expects China to become the largest travel destination and the fourth largest source country.
The success of start-ups in China sustained by the sharing economy
The success of Didi, AirBnB or bike sharing platforms such as Ofo (共享单车), shows that the sharing economy is full of opportunities for start-ups in China. Indeed, the three-year-old Chinese firm, thanks notably to a $3000 million investment from Didi, is already leaning on 3,69 millions of weekly users and 500 000 rides made per day. As Didi, the startup is planning to spread abroad. In 2016, the sharing economy incomes have increased by 76% in China, according to iiMedia Research, reaching RMB 3.95 trillion (roughly $633 billion). Regarding this number, the sharing economy must bring, in years to come, other start-ups to succeed in China.
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