The Lesser Known Rival Of 'DiDi' in China is 'DiDa' Chuxing
China’s ride-hailing giant Didi has had a challenger to it for years but only now is gaining recognition internationally. This challenger to DiDi is DiDa, a taxi-hailing & carpooling app that was on the Top 10 apps in China's App Store since the end of April and ranked at top 1 in the Travel category, ahead of Didi Chuxing in third at one point in 2018.
App downloads are not a good resemblance of growth in the ride-sharing market because DiDi clearly still dominates the market with 90% market share and had also forced Uber to pull out of China. Though, the chines market is enormous and DiDa today has more than 80 million users and in over 30 chinese cities. In comparison, Didi has more than 450 million users in over 400 cities across mainland China, and is looking to expand internationally into Australia recently.
DiDa started in 2014 as Didapinche, and specialized in carpooling. They had a creative aim of not simply connecting the rider to any driver but help them pick specific friends, jobs, or types of people. DiDa’s CEO Song Zhongjie told the South China Morning Post in 2015 that, for example, if an IT manager who’s driving for DiDa wants to hire an engineer, he can request an engineer as a passenger -- and then talk them into joining their company during the ride.
Expanding on this creative way to connect, they also help people find lovers in China. “If a male driver wants to get to know more women, he can, for example, also tell us he wants to drive single women aged between 20 and 29. We can match them with the right people,” the CEO said.
DiDa's rise comes as carpooling services face closer scrutiny after a passenger using Didi’s version was killed. Afterwards, DiDa suspended the social side of its own carpooling service. DiDa was asked whether it was connected to the Didi case, but a spokesperson declined to comment on either the shutdown or the app’s rapid rise up the charts.
The company has shown a profit in its recent quarters making it one of the only profitable ridesharing companies in the world. They are now trying to raise $300M this year before an expected IPO. News about this funding round came around the same time as the COVID-19 shutdown in China.
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