China is a market that has any number of firms salivating for entry, with demographics and spending power proving to be almost irresistible lures. To set up shop or maintain relationships in the region, travel is a priority. The fact remains though that payments can prove to be a thorny road to navigate.
As announced earlier this month, travel and expense management firm Concur has linked up with Didi Chuxing, the fabled Uber rival, to streamline expense management in the country.
This is not the first foray into China for Concur, as the firm already has existing partnerships that help firms in the country tackle travel and expense management challenges. The company is integrated with Taxback International, which enables companies globally to reclaim value-added taxes levied on international travel. Concur also has a partnership in place with Ctrip, which tracks pre-trip approval and booking activity.
Through the terms of the latest deal with Didi, Concur users on the ground requesting a ride through the ride-hailing firm are able to log the transactions back to their Concur account through a mobile app. Didi Chuxing users connect to Concur accounts and can select rides. Reconciliation with the back office happens seamlessly, the companies said upon the announcement, and submission for reimbursement also is an option.
In an interview with PYMNTS, a Concur spokesperson said the firms recognized the need for the current partnership based on the fact that “China is the third-largest international market, measured by Concur business traveler spend. Local market growth is expected to continue increasing.” Companies, indicated the spokesperson, “need visibility into spend tied to China, which is the world’s largest business travel market with $291 billion in travel spend,” as noted by the Global Business Travel Association. “In addition, 95 percent of that spend is domestic in China, and demand for ground transportation is on the rise.”
There’s also a growing trend toward improved corporate governance, said the Concur spokesperson, with compliance at the forefront of initiatives. The solution offered to the Didi users “helps businesses more easily gather accurate information about ride routes and fares, as that data is sent to Concur automatically, which, in turn, can boost compliance.” The stakes can be high, noted the firm, as Concur’s average enterprise customer expenses are nearly $1 million in ground transportation annually.