Didi takes on Uber in Mexico
Didi Chuxing is preparing to launch in Mexico -- taking the fight right to one of Uber’s favorite markets.
Reuters reports the company is currently recruiting drivers in the city of Toluca and could start operations as early as this month.
Until now, Didi’s overseas expeditions have been limited to investments in ride-sharing companies in countries Brazil, India, Estonia and the Middle East -- so Mexico is the company’s first bid to launch the brand outside of China.
From a business perspective, the choice makes sense. The country has a booming population of close to 130 million people and a public transport system that is often criticised as expensive and unsafe.
But in choosing Mexico, Didi is also gearing up for a fight: Uber already dominates the ride-hailing market in Mexico -- making up 87 percent of Mexico's ride-hailing market share in 2017 -- and the country is considered one of its “most prized and profitable markets.”
Uber is both a shareholder and competitor for Didi, after selling its Chinese operations to the Beijing-based company for US$1 billion in exchange for a 17.1 percent stake.
And that wasn’t Uber’s only overseas stumble.
It recently pulled out of Southeast Asia after losing another expensive battle to a regional rival -- this time, Singaporean-based Grab. And it also bowed out of Russia following a similar deal with local firm Yandex last year.
Didi will also have to keep an eye on its home market.
Chinese consumer app Meituan-Dianping is planning to launch its own ride-sharing platform there, relying on its base of 600 million active users.