The Chinese company DiDi Chuxing started operating in South Africa today, according to Reuters.
Founded in 2012, the Beijing-based company operates in more than 400 cities in China. It claims to serve over 550 million users in 16 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America and Australia.
This expansion of South Africa (first release in Cape Town) marks its first presence in Africa and the seventeenth active country.
The following is an excerpt from the company website announcing the release:
DiDi South Africa understands the challenges facing communities and the transport industry with the development of urban mobility (rideshare) and is therefore committed to creating the freedom and convenience of moving places, opening up horizons and giving access to new experiences through our platforms.
Our mission is led by a dedicated team that understands the business landscapes of the rideshare industry. DiDi is there to help South Africans move freely and unlock their potential and the cities in which they live.
Although the nine-year-old claims to understand how the motorcycle industry works, the South African market, despite being a relatively stable environment with high economic potential compared to the rest of Africa, is a completely different ball game.
While Uber and Bolt dominate a few million users, they regularly face regulatory challenges from the government, which feels the need to protect the country’s traditionally metered taxis. DiDi will not be exempt from this, but the expansion time in South Africa suggests that the company is looking to explore the current challenges facing Uber as its drivers promote employee rights.
After Uber announced that it would grant employment rights to its drivers in the UK, SA drivers are trying to get the same treatment by filing a lawsuit against the American company in cooperation with the British law firm Leigh Day and the lawyers Mbuyisa Moleele based in Johannesburg. .
With South Africa, DiDi is currently interested in either expanding or investing worldwide.
In 2018, DiDi acquired the Brazilian company 99, and now claims to hold 50% of its market share in North America. In its most dominant market, China, DiDi has almost 80% market share after the acquisition of Uber China in 2016.
The company, whose backers include Alibaba, Apple, DST, SoftBank and Tencent, also has its nails in different companies in markets where it does not operate – Grab (Southeast Asia), Lyft (USA) and Ola (India). All of these companies compete with Uber in their respective markets.
But having also invested in Bolt, South Africa represents the second market after Russia, where DiDi will head the company based in Estonia. The couple will also compete with each other when DiDi launches in the UK, according to Bloomberg in February.
These expansion plans aim to increase the value of the SoftBank-backed company (currently $ 62 billion) for a potential mega-IPO of $ 100 billion later this year.
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