Didi Chuxing, China’s ride-hailing giant, has ended its US experiment and has halted its app service in the US. Instead, Didi says that the company encourages users to download Lyft—Didi’s strategic partner in the US.
Didi has shown its ambition to expand globally after it invested $100 million in Lyft, Uber’s major rival in the US market, in September 2015. Since then, Didi has worked closely with Lyft, and in April 2016 rolled out the “Didi Haiwai” service—an experimental service where Chinese tourists in the US could hail rides operated by Lyft on Didi’s app and pay with Alipay or WeChat Pay.
Didi has confirmed with TechNode that American users are currently unable to use the app in the US and “are encouraged to download and use the app of our partner [Lyft].”
“From the feedback we collected, the service indeed made it more convenient for frequent travelers between China and the US, and we saw huge market needs here,” Didi told TechNode. “It has been a great cross-border experiment, where we’ve earned some precious experience that’ll serve as a good reference for our future cooperation with Lyft and other partners.”
It’s no secret that Didi is ambitiously looking to expand globally. The firm in March launched a self-driving research lab in Mountain View, California. Additionally, Didi has built a global partnership network covering almost every major player around the world, including Ola in India, Grab in Southeast Asia, Lyft in the U.S., 99 in Brazil, and Taxify in Europe and Africa. The network, according to Didi, now covers over 1,000 cities in the world and reaches 60% of the world’s population.
“DiDi would like to take a more active approach to internationalization. It is planning to land in other markets independently or through partners,” said Didi.
Most recently, Didi landed $5.5 billion in its latest round of financing in April, marking a step forward for the company to tap into the global market.