Ride-hailing platform Didi will allow users to book rides operated by other companies within its app, the company said in a statement on Monday. The move follows Meituan’s recent foray into ride aggregation services.

Why it matters: The new service includes cars from platforms operated by state-backed automakers FAW, GAC, and Dongfeng Motors. Didi says that it currently has around 550 million users in the country.

  • Chinese carmakers are increasingly entering the ride-hailing market, as auto sales in the country plummet amid a slowing economy.
  • Car sales fell by more than 10% in the first half of 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Details: Didi will help auto manufacturers through its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and operational experience to build their capacity operating connected vehicles, the company said in its statement.

  • Didi said last month that it was looking to expand its partnership with GAC to include ride-hailing operations and autonomous vehicles.
  • The company has also invested in GAC’s ride-hailing platform OnTime.

Context: In May, lifestyle services company Meituan, which runs its own ride-hailing platform, opened its app up to companies including Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur, Caocao Chuxing, and Shenzhou. Didi was not included in the service.

  • Meituan had been running a trial of the operation in Nanjing and Shanghai. The company later expanded the service to cities including Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Ningbo, as well as Xi’an, Chengdu, Wuhan, and Shenzhen.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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