Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing service that is acquiring Uber’s China business, has launched an updated app that removes Uber China from Uber’s global app.
According to a report by TechCrunch based on that move, there is now an app for Uber users in China and a different one for the rest of the globe. The changes were announced in October but went live on Monday (Nov. 28).
While the new app decouples Uber China from the global app, it looks similar to the previous version of Uber in China, with some notable differences. For starters, users have to create a new account for Uber China that requires a Chinese mobile phone number and a valid payment method, such as UnionPay, Alipay or Baidu Wallet, reported TechCrunch. TechCrunch noted that anyone who doesn’t have a Chinese payment option that is visiting the country won’t be able to download Uber’s China app and use the service in China.
“We apologize to our users for any inconvenience [that] may be caused by this transition. The Uber China team has been working hard to make the new version faster-responding and more user-friendly,” Uber China/Didi said in a statement, reported TechCrunch. The report noted that, for visitors to China, the new app can be a big negative since Didi’s apps are only available in Mandarin and also require a local phone number. Because of that, Uber was the way to go for travelers, but that’s no longer the case. Didi did tell TechCrunch it’s gearing up to launch multilingual and international features down the road. It did not provide a timeframe for them.
The report noted that Didi had recently said it plans to expand outside of China but has yet to elaborate on what that would mean. After all, the company can grow organically or make acquisitions outside China to expand its business, noted TechCrunch.