China’s largest ride-hailing company is back after taking a big hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with business returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Ridesharing orders on Didi Chuxing’s platform have surged past the 30 million-a-day mark, Chief Executive Cheng Wei told Reuters.
That’s the most orders the ride-hailing company has seen since the Chinese government shut down broad swaths of the country’s economy earlier this year to combat the spread of Covid-19, Wei indicated.
Didi Bike is also seeing a resurgence in orders, rising to 10 million a day, the CEO said.
Didi Chuxing, which counts SoftBank as one of its top backers, apparently saw the first signs of a resurgence in business in April, with the company’s CEO telling the news service that activity on the ride-sharing platform was up after hitting rock bottom in March as the coronavirus crisis wore on.
Didi Chuxing that month also resumed service in Wuhan, the first epicenter for the deadly virus, which has since spread across the world. In addition to China, Didi Chuxing operates in Australia and in several Latin American countries.
“This moment marks a new beginning as we turn to support the full recovery of urban life and transportation in the country,” Didi Chuxing noted on the company blog at the time.
Didi Chuxing’s CEO, Wei, was already looking ahead at that point, with a goal of 100 million ride-sharing orders per day in China by 2022, and 800 million globally.
As Didi Chuxing pushes to increase ridership, the company, which employs 10,000, including 2,000 overseas, is also forging ahead with its research efforts on autonomous vehicles.
Didi Chuxing last week announced it had closed the first, $550 million round to pay for research into its autonomous vehicle initiative, with SoftBank leading the effort.
The company is now testing out vehicles in California and in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou in China.