Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi to launch service in Mexico City

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-21 12:16:23|Editor: ZD
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MEXICO CITY, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing will launch its transport services in Mexico's capital on Wednesday, in a bid to further expand business in the country.

Home to some 22 million people with Internet access and a lack of reliable transportation, Mexico City and the metropolitan area presents an attractive market, said Pablo Mondragon, the company's head of operations for the nation's capital and nearby Toluca.

"Latin America is one of the fastest growing regions in terms of Internet use, especially Mexico. We have about 90 million Internet users (nationwide), which makes entry (into the market) easy for these types of apps," Mondragon said.

In Mexico, DiDi first launched operations in Toluca, a city located 60 km west of Mexico City, in April and has expanded to Guadalajara, Monterrey and now Mexico City.

"Mobility issues in Mexico, specifically Mexico City, are a huge challenge," Mondragon said.

"We are in one of the (world's) largest cities, with the biggest mobility problems," he added.

DiDi's expansion plans cover the northern cities of Chihuahua, Mexicali as well as Tijuana, Merida to the southeast, and Puebla, near Mexico City.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), greater Mexico City registers some 34.56 million daily commutes, of which 58.1 percent are for going to work, with the average commute lasting from 30 minutes to two hours.

At the company's Mexico City recruitment office, the hustle and bustle has been on the upswing, with hundreds of drivers interested in becoming DiDi partners.

Compared with other big names in ride-sharing, such as Uber, the Chinese company's offer is quite different, said Mario Aguilar, a DiDi driving partner in Toluca.

"DiDi offered me less hours and lower labor output. In addition, the treatment from DiDi has always been very humane," said Aguilar, who left Uber after two-and-one-half years.

"DiDi came and positioned itself very well, not to fill a void, but rather to find its niche. The competition here is stiff and DiDi has earned its place in Mexico," Aguilar said.

According to Aguilar, since joining DiDi, his earnings have increased on average between 4,000 and 6,000 pesos (213 and 320 U.S. dollars) a week. DiDi receives 20 percent of each fare, less than the 25 percent Uber charges.

Aguilar also likes DiDi because it is a Chinese company. "China is the master of apps. In other words, it knows the business," he said.

"The Chinese ... way of working as a team attracts your attention. And DiDi has accomplished so much more than Uber in a shorter time span," he said.

"All of the technology we are developing in China we are going to bring here to Mexico, so we can continue to learn from the city through all the data we are generating, to continue to offer more efficient service," Mondragon said.

According to the company, DiDi has 31 million drivers worldwide, making 10 billion trips per year and transporting 550 million passengers.