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Didi targets South America despite regional competition

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – As prominent car-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft prepare for IPOs in the United States, Chinese competitor Didi has something else in mind.

It goes without saying that Latin America represents a huge market for these companies, which is why Didi is spreading like wildfire. After launching in Mexico just a few months ago, the company announced new yet controversial operations in South America.

The ride-hailing app has even started advertising jobs in Peru, Chile and Colombia on its website. Didi officials also launched advertising campaigns for drivers, marketing, crisis management and business operators.

Not only has Didi start the hiring process but also relocated some Chinese executives to Chile and Peru.

Didi versus Uber

As for now, Uber leads the industry across the region. However, this could very well change once the Chinese competitor enters the market.

This isn’t the first time these two giants face have crossed paths. Uber and Didi were already grappling over the Mexican and Brazilian markets, especially after Didi purchased Brazil’s ride-hailing app 99.

Overall, things have been tense between the two enterprises ever since Didi acquired Uber’s Chinese operation, only to kick it out of the country.

Nonetheless, Didi faces a serious backlash in China. Governmental concerns, regulatory problems and recent homicides of passengers concern authorities. Even Didi personnel are leaving China as the company is presumably losing money, at least for now.

In Chile, Didi already hired Felipe Contreras, who used to work as a corporate communications chief for Uber Chile. Didi also hired a senior executive from WOM, the telecom company.

Not only does Didi want to compete, but to also lead the market. Who knows if this will ever happen considering Peru, Chile and Colombia are already bombarded with other contenders like Uber, Cabify and Beat.

“We are still in the planning and recruitment phase,” says Felipe Contreras from Didi.

Law

Chile still must pass a regulatory law to properly address these emerging transportation platforms. There have been many issues since Uber’s launch, for example. More and more drivers are getting fined by police for lack of permits or public transport licenses.

What are Uber executives doing? Is simply anyone able to become a driver or what? What happened to their requirements and tests?

Didi’s launch won’t necessarily disrupt this law passing. The company’s executive contends they’re considering every variable.

Like the Chilean government, though, the OIT recently requested these companies to have proper labor contracts with service providers. Detours won’t be stopping any time soon, but I’ll discuss that later. So much to talk about.

-VC

Victor Cortéshttps://www.contxto.com/
CEO & Co-Founder of Contxto. Passionate about tech, startups and venture capital. I eat sushi five times a week.

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