When it comes to talking about the future, Didi Kuaidi is a bit cagier than its rivals in the west. While Uber employees have no qualms about painting utopian pictures of self-driving cars purring around the streets of San Francisco, Didi Kuaidi’s predictions tend to focus more on trends and investment strategies – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Tech in Asia recently sat down with Stephen Zhu, Didi Kuaidi’s vice president for strategic development, to try and tease out some hints about the company’s future plans.
Didi Kuaidi – and before that, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache – have spent the last three years attempting to take more and more market share within the Chinese transportation industry. Now that Didi Kuaidi has a high-90s percent share of the taxi market and is a serious competitor to Uber in the private car market, the company needs to consolidate its gains and make sure it can defend its position.
“From the lowest price point – the bus – to Hitch, to Didi Express, to taxis, to Didi Black and [our upcoming] luxury brand, all of these product lines can already solve 70% of consumer transportation within cities,” says Stephen. “So a lot of the focus now is vertically. How can we make the service cheaper, more efficient, faster, and better?”
Didi Kuaidi has a strong presence in China’s urban areas, with programmes set up in more than 350 cities. But smaller cities have fewer cabbies and drivers, and therefore slower, less reliable service. In the years to come, Didi is aiming to expand its reach into China’s third- and fourth-tier cities.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.