Last Friday SwedCham’s Beijing office, together with the Finnish Business Council in Beijing and Danish Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, was invited to visit Didi Chuxing’s head quarter in Beijing to talk about Didi’s journey, automotive cars and their international expansion strategy.
Didi Chuxing is a Chinese technology conglomerate, that offers a full range of mobile tech-based mobility options for close to 550 million users across over 400 Chinese cities, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, chauffeurs, buses, car rental, bike and e-bike sharing and food delivery to users in China via a smartphone application.
Benjamin Wang, International Business Chief of Staff, told the story of how it all started 6 years ago when the founder of Didi Dache, Cheng Wei, was tired of having difficulties to find a taxi, particularly during rush hour and that he missed several flights because he could not hail a cab in time. “To create an interest for and traffic on the APP in the beginning, we had our office personal acting as customers and drivers driving around in the city during office hours”.
“To create an interest for and traffic on the APP in the beginning, we had our office personal acting as customers and drivers driving around in the city during office hours” – Benjamin Wang
In 2018, DiDi launched its own-branded mobility services in Mexico and Australia, and a joint venture with Soft Bank Corp. to offer taxi-hailing service in Japan. “Partnering with local companies has proved to be the best way when launching at new locations. Before we launch we always invest in similar local companies to learn the market, and to test if our system can add value.”, said Wang.
“Partnering with local companies has proved to be the best way when launching at new locations. Before we launch we always invest in similar local companies to learn the local market, and to test if our system can add value.” – Benjamin Wang
Didi Chuxing’s CSR strategy characterises the daily work both in the offices and on the field. Today 27 % of the middle and senior managers are female and from 2017 to 2018, DiDi provided over 30 million flexible and equitable job opportunities for people, including a considerable number of women, laid-off workers from traditional sectors and veteran soldiers. In addition, nearly 2.3 million of Didi’s drivers are female – among them, 80% are mothers with young children who are able to find flexible work and income opportunities through DiDi’s platform.
We also had the opportunity to listen to Jianhao Zhang, Transportation Planning Specialist, and Dr. Tong Wei who talked about autonomous cars, big data operations and smart transportation. Today Didi has 4 autonomous labs in LA, Beijing and looking to setting up more labs in Europe. “Human drivers are not going to be eliminated in the future, but we are going to see more autonomous options in the future“, Zhang predicted.