The company will offer crowdfunding and lending as it tries to distance itself from a year of scandals, including the murder of two female passengers. In December, Didi announced a company-wide reorganization, meant to improve safety and efficiency.
The company’s new products were first tested in 10 Chinese cities and are now available nationwide. The services include wealth management tools, credit, lending and crowdfunding for serious illnesses. All of the services are geared toward the company’s temporary and short-term workers. The new products will bring Didi into direct competition with the Alibaba Group and technology giant Tencent.
Since the murders, Didi has faced new regulatory rules and more scrutiny, and other companies – especially Alibaba-funded firms – have stepped in to try and tap into demand.
The Chinese Ministry of Transport has said that Didi is “out of control,” and promised to improve worker recruitment standards. The number of eligible applicants was already hampered by 2017 regulations, and Didi is short drivers in some major cities.
Didi is backed by Uber, Apple and SoftBank. The company plans to continue to expand in South America and Australia.
Last year, Didi announced that it was moving into the hotel business as well. The company received $500 million in funding from Booking Holdings, with a plan to expand globally. Booking, which used to be called Priceline, teamed up with the company to enable Didi customers to book hotels through Booking.com and its sister site, Agoda.
Booking also owns KAYAK, Priceline.com, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable, sites that can also help Didi expand.
“Building on its leadership and expertise in the global online travel market, Booking is championing a digital revolution of travel experience. We look forward to seamlessly connecting every segment of the journey and improving everyone’s traveling experience through more collaborative innovation with the Booking brands on product, technology and market development,” said Stephen Zhu, VP of strategy for Didi, in a statement.