Didi Kuaidi surpassed 1b rides in 2015, trumps Uber sixfold

China-based ridesharing service Didi Kuaidi saw over 1 billion rides in 2015, a figure that the company said secures China as the number one ridesharing market in the world.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Ridesharing service Didi Kuaidi said it completed 1.43 billion rides in 2015, almost double the amount of total taxi rides in the United States, and a milestone that took controversial rival Uber six years to reach.

According to Didi Kuaidi, the Beijing-based company holds 87.2 percent of China's private-car hailing market, currently processing 7 million rides per day in 360 cities in China.

"Didi believes that the mobile transportation market will continue to experience robust growth as market structure stabilises and the idea of sharing economy gains further recognition in China," CEO and founder Cheng Wei said.

Didi Kuaidi is the result of a merger that occurred in February last year between Tencent-funded mobile taxi-service app Didi Dache, and its rival Kuaidi Dache, which has been previously heavily backed by China's ecommerce giant Alibaba.

According to Wei, Didi Kuaidi will focus on applying its data-mining capability to "vertical capacity enhancement".

"We could go from hailing a car to hailing a seat when our ride-pooling is introduced into taxis, private cars, and Hitch," he said. "We spent three years linking up urban mobility options on our mobile platform; in the next three years, big data and artificial intelligence capabilities will enable us to maximise the efficiency of all these tools."

Didi Kuaidi raised $3 billion in September last year, with reports at the time saying the funding gave the company a $16.5 billion valuation; controversial rival Uber was sitting on a $51 billion valuation as of November last year.

In direct response to Uber, Didi Kuadi alongside fellow ridesharing services Lyft, GrabTaxi, and Ola last month rallied to form a partnership to tap each other's network and jointly offer services.

At the time, the foursome said their collaboration meant their services would reach almost all of Southeast Asia, India, China, and the United States, touching nearly half of the world's population. The collaboration expands on a previous agreement formed between Lyft and Didi Kuaidi in September 2015.

"As Didi consolidates market leadership across all main verticals, we are now focused on applying more refined big-data tools to further develop product innovation and enhance the user experience," Wei said at the time.

"The partnership with Lyft, GrabTaxi, and Ola allows Chinese users unprecedented ease of international travel, and helps each of us improve our own services [by] leveraging our collective technology and expertise."

Last week, Lyft announced it had raised $1 billion in its latest funding round, with $500 million coming by way of car manufacturer General Motors (GM). GM's investment has been labelled a long-term strategic alliance by both parties with the pinnacle objective of the partnership to co-develop a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles -- a fleet of driverless cars ready to take passengers from A to B.

Kingdom Holding Company accounted for $100 million of Lyft's latest funding round, which sees the Saudi Arabia-based investor sinking an approximate total of $250 million into the San Francisco-based startup. Janus Capital Management, Rakuten, Chinese retail giant Alibaba, and Didi Kuaidi also accounted for the $400 million funding balance.

In a report released earlier this week, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said that car-hailing services faced more obstacles than driving forces between 2010 and 2013. The CNNIC said this was due largely to regulatory restrictions, an undeveloped market environment, and a lack of familiarity with mobile access among the general public.

"They have good market opportunities in large and medium-sized cities ... [where] taxi capacity is relatively low and roadside parking space falls short of demand. This contributed to the user stickiness of car-hailing services to some extent," CNNIC said. It added that car-sharing apps saw high interest among large local internet companies and car rental operators

In July, Shanghai local authorities increased fines on both drivers and companies providing ridesharing services, after China had already imposed a ban on private cars using Uber.

As a result, drivers in Shanghai who used Didi Kuaidi and Uber to provide taxi services faced penalties and a 10,000 yuan fine, as well as the suspension of their driver's licence for up to six months. The taxi-hailing app platforms were fined 100,000 yuan for each case as well.

Editorial standards