Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing to launch in Mexico

World Today

A corporate showdown is coming to Mexico City. The challenge: who will dominate the city’s ride-sharing market. Chinese company Didi Chuxing is pitted against Uber, the world’s number-one ride-hailing app. CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports.

Every day, tens of thousands of people here depend on them for transportation. Taxi hailing applications have altered the way people get around.

Mexico City is the first in Latin America to use taxi hailing applications. Competition in this already mature market is fierce, and taxi services in the giant Mexican capital are about to change again.

Fifty-four year-old Sergio Armando Vega could see those changes coming. He’s part of a large network of Uber drivers in Mexico City.

But the company takes 25 percent of the fares. On social networks connecting taxi drivers, Vega learned that a new player was coming to town – the giant Chinese taxi-hailing company, Didi.

He said, “Another taxi driver on WhatsApp told many of us that we should all join the Chinese Company that will offer a new platform here and which has received good recommendations. They will begin in Toluca and test out the company. Then they will begin here in Mexico City.”

Didi provides taxi service to nearly half a billion Chinese clients. One year ago, it became China’s most valuable start-up, raising $5.5 billion dollars. The company expects to boost its profits once it starts in Toluca, a city about 57 kilometers from the capital.

In a message to the Mexican public about its launch in their country, Didi Chuxing stated: “Through this program the Company seeks to understand local market conditions and directly experience mobility needs in a major city in the country.”

Mobility expert Laura Ballesteros helped create the regulations governing transportation in Mexico City. She says all taxi companies must focus on improving customer service.

“For this city to function best, we not only need new technologies and new competitors, but also that all taxis improve their services. That way customers are the winners,” Ballesteros explained.

Now valued at $56 billion dollars, Didi is the world’s second largest venture-backed private firm. As this story was being published, Uber was the world’s top venture capital company.