In what is now a challenge to Bolt and Uber, DiDi Chuxing has entered South Africa’s ride-hailing market. The Chinese ride-hailing company is backed by SoftBank and has officially commenced operations in Cape Town. DiDi has an international presence in Russia, Japan, Australia, among several other South American markets.
DiDi South Africa carried out a pilot project in Gqeberha, South Africa on March 1st. In barely a month the company enlisted 2000 drivers from the city onto its app. This has helped over 20,000 local residents already signed up to DiDi’s platform to move about without any incident.
Stephen Zhu, DiDi’s Senior VP, and Head of International Business pointed out how South Africa has been hard hit by the pandemic, completely interrupting livelihoods, and pointed out how the company would “do our part” by giving drivers “better earning opportunities“.
DiDi boasts over 600 million worldwide users and supports drivers in the tens of millions. In 2015, the company had closed several funding rounds from Tencent Holdings and Apple. In 2016, the company acquired Uber China, in a deal that gave the latter a valuation of $35 billion. DiDi was valued at $50 billion during a 2017 fundraising round.
The Beijing-based ride-hailing giant is eyeing an international IPO in either New York or Hong Kong and is targeting a $100 billion valuation with the intent of capitalizing on a post-pandemic rebound. Didi has also announced plans of entering the Ecuador market in April.