The leading Chinese mobility service startup, DiDi, has commenced operation in South Africa according to a report from Reuter.
The Soft Bank-backed ride-hailing platform founded in 2012 currently operates in more than 400 cities in China and claims to serve over 600 million users in 16 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America & Russia.
With its expansion into South Africa, DiDi marks its entrance into the African mobility market where Uber, Bolt, and a host of other local players all compete for a fair share of the various local market.
DiDi’s expansion which comes off the back of its 2018 acquisition of Brazilian ride-hailing company 99 that saw it gain over 50% of the ride-hailing market share in South America, serves as a welcome competition for consumers of raid hailing services on the African continent.
In a statement justifying the move on its website, the company stated that it “…understands the challenges communities and the transportation industry face with the evolution of urban mobility (rideshare) and as a result is committed to creating the freedom and convenience to go places, open up horizons and give access to new experiences through our platforms.”It further noted that its mission ”…is driven by a dedicated team, who understand the operational landscapes of the rideshare industry.
DiDi exists to help South Africans move freely and to unlock their potential and that of the cities they live in.”DiDi’s expansion into Africa, analysts believe is geared toward increasing the company’s current valuation of $62 billion for a potential mega-IPO of $100 billion later this year.