Didi: Former Uber rival entices foreign users with English language app

Didi Chuxing says the move is a “crucial link in Didi’s broader global strategy”

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The Independent Online

The company that quashed Uber’s prospects in China is now luring foreign users to its services with the launch of an English language version of its app in the country’s three largest cities.

Didi Chuxing announced the Beta release of an English-version update to its app this week, which gives users in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou the option of an English interface, as well as enabling instant messaging with drivers via real-time translation.

Didi formed an international division in February and made the globalisation of its services a top priority. Until now, however, the company only offered a Chinese-language app that did not accept foreign credit cards.

In a statement regarding the release of its English service, the company said the move was a “crucial link in Didi’s broader global strategy”, adding that it hoped the update would better serve China’s growing community of foreign tourists.

The company plans to roll out the English service in other Chinese cities on an ongoing basis.

Didi acquired Uber’s China subsidiary last year after Uber reported that it was losing around $1bn per year in the country, ending a costly battle between the two companies, which competed for customers and drivers. The agreement gave Uber a 20 per cent stake in Didi and handed Didi ownership of all of Uber China's assets in return for $1bn (£770m) of investment in Uber.

The deal was seen as a major blow to Uber's global ambitions, coming just twelve months after the company announced that conquering China was its “number one priority”.