Beijing, China’s ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing is planning to expand its services to expand to Mexico by next year, marking the company’s first international expansion move. This also signals a new phase of competition with global ride sharing company Uber, which quit its Chinese business by selling it to Didi in 2016 after lengthy and expensive battle.
After Uber, Didi Chuxing is the most valued privately owned firm in the world. Its decision to begin recruiting drivers and offering rides in Mexico will surely be seen as shot across Uber’s bow at a time when the company witnessed a series of self-inflicted scandals.
Didi right now has no card outside China, but will be launching an app in the Mexico and recruit local drivers.
It is unclear which cities Didi will target, although one of the sources said the company was aiming to launch in the first quarter of next year. The company has already begun trying to recruit corporate talent in the sector,the source told Reuters.
Earlier this year, Didi opened an R&D center in Mountain View, California. Last month, Didi also met with ProMexico, a government trade and investment body to discuss opportunities in the country.
The company has always been open about its will to expand on a global scale and this is why it raised $5.5 billion from its investors. Didi has also invested in Uber rivals across the globe including- Lyft, Brazil’s 99, India’s Ola, Singapore based Grab, Estonia’s Taxify and Careem in the Middle East.
Didi will also compete with Spanish ride-hailing company Cabify, which operates in seven Mexican cities.
Mexican authorities also fear that allowing ride-sharing apps to deal in cash would hurt traditional taxi business which are a political force in some cities.