Image via: Adobe Stock

DiDi: Chinese e-hailing service to compete with Uber and Bolt in SA

DiDi, an e-hailing company with a global footprint, will look to compete with Uber and Bolt in South Africa.


Image via: Adobe Stock

Chinese company DiDi Chuxing announced that it will start an e-hailing service in Cape Town, South Africa on Monday 29 March 2021, according to Reuters. Uber and Bolt currently dominate the South African e-hailing market and DiDi’s arrival is sure to ruffle their feathers because it’s a large company that currently operates in Japan, Australia, Russia and several South American markets.


The beijing-headquartered company announced its arrival in Cape Town via its website on Monday and boasts 600 million users across Asia, South America and Russia. It also employs tens of millions of drivers.

“DiDi South Africa understands the challenges communities and the transportation industry face with the evolution of urban mobility (rideshare) and as a result is committed to creating the freedom and convenience to go places, open up horizons and give access to new experiences through our platform,” said the company.

“Our mission is driven by a dedicated team, who understands the operational landscapes of the rideshare industry. DiDi exists to help South Africans move freely and to unlock their potential and that of the cities they live in.”

The “DiDi-Rider” application is already available for download from both the Apple and Android app stores. However, a message reading “DiDi is currently unavailable in your area” pops up even when selecting trips within the vicinity of Cape Town’s CBD, so it seems passengers are unable to utilise the service just yet.


Chinese conglomerates Alibaba and Tencent, Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank and Apple back the company, which was founded in 2012.

Didi’s expansion into South Africa is the company’s first African venture and it is now active in 17 countries, according to Tech Crunch. The e-hailing service could also make its debut in Western Europe – in the UK, France and Germany – by mid-2021, according to Bloomberg.

The company’s expansion plans are intended to increase DiDi Global’s market value, which currently sits at $62 billion, ahead of a potential initial public offering (IPO) of $100 billion later in 2021.

In contrast, Uber’s market capitalisation reached $78 billion in November 2020, while industry experts estimated that Bolt’s value, which was not publicly disclosed, was around $4.3 billion.