Didi launches financial service products amid tightened regulation

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Didi

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi has launched a series of financial service products, highlighting its efforts to diversify its business lines amid increased government scrutiny.

The in-app features, which include access to funds for critical illness protection, are now available to all users across China. Users who join the program can access as much as RMB 500,000 (around $70,000) in protection from life-threatening conditions, including cancer, leukemia, and paralysis, Didi claims. Other services include wealth management, personal credit, and lending.

This is the first time Didi has showcased its financial services business to everyone on its platform. It previously announced the fintech business group at the beginning of 2018 after it was granted a payment license by fully acquiring a Beijing-based online payment enterprise back in December 2017 (in Chinese).

A Didi spokesperson told TechNode the products are set up to focus primarily on “gig economy workers” and their families. App users can pay around RMB 20 each month for medical insurance, which is provided by ZhongAn, a Hong Kong-listed Chinese online-only insurance company.

The company now also offers automobile financing solutions, including purchasing, leasing, trading, and financing services for new energy vehicles. Didi said the beta versions of these services were previously only available to Didi drivers and car owners.

Following the murders of two female passengers and a number of other safety incidents last year, China’s largest ride-hailing operator has been the subject of continued public and government scrutiny. Stricter regulations have forced Didi to remove from its platform both cars and drivers that don’t meet the required approval criteria. It recently announced that it would slowly decrease the number of orders served to non-compliant drivers.

In December, the company slashed its employees’ year-end bonuses by 50% due to less-than-satisfactory performance over the course of 2018, while executives received nothing. The company also restructured to focus on improving passenger safety and indefinitely suspended its carpooling service, Hitch.