Chinese travel site Ctrip makes move into ride-hailing
Can Ctrip do what Uber couldn’t and dethrone Didi Chuxing?
China’s largest online travel platform has become the latest player to enter China’s competitive ride-hailing market -- which has until now been dominated by Didi Chuxing, the “Uber slayer.”
The South China Morning Post reports Ctrip has been granted a license to offer ride-hailing services in China, without specifying when and where it would start offering the service.
The move makes sense for a travel company like Ctrip -- which already has a car rental service. Chinese consumer app Meituan-Dianping also recently made a similar move.
“Now the focus of competition in ride hailing has shifted from price to service,” chief executive of Ctrip’s chauffeur car service unit Li Qiao said. “Users are more willing to pay for good service.”
His comments come after a tough week for Didi. The company became the focus of unwanted attention following accusations it failed to properly respond to accusations of sexual harassment against one of its drivers.
But it won’t be easy, given how expensive it can be -- as Uber’s experience shows.
Didi Chuxing, the world’s largest ride-hailing app, has dominated China’s ride-hailing market since it beat Uber, following a long and expensive battle (which cost the American company a reported US$2 billion in subsidies).
As part of that deal, Uber sold its Chinese operations to Didi for US$1 billion in exchange for a 17.1 per cent stake in Didi.
And Didi seems ready for a fight. “If you want war, you will get war,” its co-founder Cheng Wei recently told Chinese financial magazine Caijing.