Uber competitor DiDi seemingly ditches SA following driver strike

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DiDi, which has more than 500 million users, is the world’s second-largest e-hailing platform behind Uber.
DiDi, which has more than 500 million users, is the world’s second-largest e-hailing platform behind Uber.
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  • Chinese e-hailing giant DiDi has informed its drivers that it is leaving the South African market.
  • This follows shortly after a strike by drivers, who want better conditions of employment.
  • DiDi has faced a painful crackdown in its home market in China, which has cost it billions in lost revenue.

After just one year in South Africa, the Chinese e-hailing platform DiDi has seemingly halted its services.

DiDi, which has more than 500 million users, is the world’s second-largest e-hailing platform behind Uber.

DiDi started operations in the Eastern Cape last year and expanded to cities in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

While DiDi offered ride-hailing services similar to those of Uber and Bolt, it also offered passengers the option of negotiating fares and keeping in contact with drivers whom they preferred in many of the regions in which it operated.

READ | Uber and others ride strike out as drivers return to duty

Last week, drivers on the DiDi platform received a notification that the application's service in South Africa would be discontinued.

"Dear driver, we inform you that from April 8 the DiDi app will no longer be available in your area. If you have any questions, remember that our service channels are always available to you," the notification, seen by Fin24, read.

Convenor of the Unity in Diversity coalition of drivers, Melithemba Mnguni, confirmed to Fin24 that DiDi was no longer operating.

The notification also served as a 14-day notice of the termination of agreements with drivers, DiDi said. DiDi has not responded to requests for comment on its exit of the SA market. 

Last month, South African e-hailing drivers took part in a strike aimed at forcing Uber, Bolt and DiDi to improve their conditions of employment.   

DiDi, which operates in 15 markets, also encountered a setback in its home market in China. Last year, the Chinese government launched a crackdown on the company shortly after it listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

DiDi was barred from signing up new customers amid accusations that it was illegally collecting personal data. Some 25 of its apps were also removed from local app stores.

The Chinese crackdown cost it billions in lost revenue.

According to reports, the clampdown was in retaliation against DiDi’s listing in the US. Authorities are against Chinese technology companies listing in the US because it brings them under the jurisdiction of US regulators. DiDi has since announced that it will delist from the NYSE.

Uber owns about 13% of DiDi.

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