(Yicai Global) Feb. 6 -- Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is upgrading its Hong Kong product from Kuaidi Taxi -- a brand operated by its Hong Kong team -- to the DiDi Hong Kong App for trial operation, a development which marks the official entry of the Didi Chuxing brand into Hong Kong, it announced, as online news outlet 36Kr reported.
Kuaidi Taxi entered Hong Kong in October 2013. Kuaidi Taxi, a popular Hong Kong mobile phone taxi app, has served more than 600,000 registered users and has over 20,000 cooperating drivers, or more than half of Hong Kong’s taxi drivers.
Kuaidi Taxi has now fully upgraded to become a Didi app, it will introduce Didi’s smart ride-matching algorithms during the pilot phase to ensure a smoother user experience and more accurate route planning and will help drivers reduce the number of empty trips. It has also started open tests of roaming services in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which can freely switch between regions and cities to help local taxi operators improve operating efficiency and information management. It will also activate the functions under mature operation in its domestic Didi software -- such as its Big Data-based rating system -- to improve overall service quality.
Whether in Taiwan or Hong Kong, however, Didi seems to have notable trouble in averting battle with its arch-rival Uber.
Uber, ruled to be operating illegally in April, returned to Taiwan after it began to cooperate with licensed car rental companies and take such measures as specifying fare costs in its app. Uber has now given more than 15 million rides to millions of registered users with 16,000 cooperating drivers, official data show.
After taking a page from Uber's book, Didi's business in Taiwan has since been going well. Didi Chuxing officially entered Taiwan on Jan. 19 and launched its Didi Taxi and Didi Hitch (social ride-sharing) services with Taiwan-based LEDI Technology Co. as the local authorized franchisee operator.
After the Didi Chuxing brand formally lands in Hong Kong, it will compete with its old rival Uber for the third time. Uber has operated in the Hong Kong market for many years.
However, Uber still cannot avoid the issue of localization in Hong Kong. In addition to such factors as the well-developed public transport facilities, the high cost of using private cars (high-income people who own private cars do not bother to moonlight as taxi drivers) and conflict with Hong Kong's taxi sector, one very important point is that Uber taxi again violated the local laws and regulations and repeatedly suffered blows at the hands of the Hong Kong government.
Now that Didi’s Hong Kong brand has completed its upgrade it will battle for the third time with its nemesis. How will emerge victorious in this bout of the behemoths?