Chinese ridesharing giant DiDi is set to roll out its services in 20 new Aussie locations, in a bid to catch up with competitors Uber and Ola.
DiDi launched in Australia in 2018, with an initial trial in Geelong leading to a wider rollout in Melbourne. Now, it’s available in eight cities including Brisbane, Perth, the Gold Coast and Sydney, where it launched just months ago.
As of August 10, Didi will operate in more urban hubs including Adelaide, Cairns, Ballarat and Canberra.
But, it will also service more regional areas including Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, and Rockhampton, Mackay and Hervey Bay in Queensland.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
The expansion takes the fight to ridesharing giant Uber, which currently dominates the Aussie market, and competitor Ola, which also enjoys a big chunk of the market share.
According to research from Roy Morgan in February, of those surveyed who use ridesharing services, 93% use Uber, while 20% use Ola and 14% use DiDi.
This move will make the DiDi service available to more than three million extra potential customers, a statement from the ridesharing company said.
During COVID-19, stay-at-home orders and social-distancing measures have meant DiDi — like its competitors — has seen a decline in the number of trips completed.
But, according to the statement, as some states are easing restrictions and trying to return to some sort of normalcy, numbers are quickly picking up again.
“As much of the nation eases COVID-19 restrictions and Australians reconnect after
stay-at-home orders, the time is right for DiDi Australia to expand its service,” the statement said.
“Trip recovery is particularly strong in Queensland and Western Australia, which have been less impacted by COVID-19 compared to other states.”
DiDi is also playing hard ball with its competitors, offering incentives for drivers in the new operation areas. Those approved before August 10 will pay nothing in servicing fees for their first four weeks. Drivers will also get up to $100 for referring others.
“Our entry into 20 new Australian cities ensures we are well positioned as the clear challenger to the market leader,” DiDi Australia general manager Lyn Ma said in a statement.