A taxi-hailing app backed by the Beijing Municipal Government has gone live this week, attempting to break into a market hotly contested by Uber and Kuaidi Didi. The app, Feidi, has an will draw its users from an existing city taxi hotline Beijing Qihua, also known as 96106, which the company claims has over 1.9 million regular users.

The relationship between the government, taxi companies and ride-hailing apps has fluctuated as private companies continue to expand in the market. Beijing has reiterated a total ban on for-profit civilian drivers since the start of the year. In July, Shanghai authorities introduced harsh new fines for any un-licensed civilians caught using the ride sharing apps. 

Feidi Che claims that their starting user base was at 15,000, though most of these drivers are not likely be exclusive users. Taxi drivers in Beijing often use a coupling of different taxi apps to boost their profits. The app supports Wechat transfer, Alipay and cash payments, and unlike the hotline itself, a 5RMB hailing charge does not apply to the app.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com