The tide is changing at Didi as both companies deepen integration of services and transparency of business under their new strategy. Now Uber China on Monday released a private beta app update, the first major update since China’s largest ride hailing app and Uber decided to merge under one brand – Didi Chuxing – in August 2016.
According to the merger announcement, Didi would acquire all assets of Uber China, including brand, business operations, and data. Didi said that Uber China will retain its brand and operate its business independently. With the to businesses agreeing to a share holding structure that enables cooperation without competition.
The update is scheduled to be available in some Chinese cities late this month and for users across the country next month. I’ve since had a different experience as now I have full English maps on both Didi and Uber apps. Something I wonder why wait for merger to do so anyway…
Screenshot of my Uber China app.
Over time, Didi Chuxing has developed a series of popular functions which will be available on the Uber update. One of the functions is real-time human service. It enables users to reach human customer service via phone calls. So far Uber China users can seek advice and help via the “HELP” button in the app’s toolbar. Users either read several categories of common questions and solutions, or leave a message.
Apart from the real-time human service, Uber China added a handful of new functions, geared to help its users better spot the car, communicate with the driver, and share routes, according to Tencent Tech.
For example, the app now tells the waiting passenger the car color to help them spot their ride. Users can also leave a message on the app to the driver, so that the driver can pick him or her up at a specified place. Uber China passengers so far can only talk to drivers via phone. Additionally, Uber China has expanded route sharing communication to allow route sharing via WeChat.
We expect more friendly interface capabilities for foreigners as Didi platform is quite very heavily focused on local experienece. With the merger of the both companies my hope is that the two companies realize that model of business does not mean a move to extort consumers and more importantly foreigners because of the handiness the App in English offers, but to find a balance between providing usability and AI based interaction between local non-English speaking drivers and of course foreigners who will most often be English based. This is a key part to growing the Uber base and making commute exceptionally interesting for foreigners using the App in china.