Chinese taxi-hailing app Didi is now available in America and users can complete payment via WeChat or Alipay with automated currency exchange into Renminbi.
According to Li Zijian, Didi's director of travel strategy unit, Didi users who visit America will be able to get car service via the Didi app and the service will be provided by drivers of Lyft, the American transportation service provider and a strategic partner of Didi. Li said the Didi app will provide real-time speech translation services, which is realized via third-party transaction service providers, to enable real-time communications between passengers and drivers.
Commenting on the cooperation, Lyft said that the cooperation will not impact Lyft drivers and their service fee percentage for each order will not change. However, regarding the allocation of remaining incomes, both Didi and Lyft said it is the result of internal negotiations and will not be disclosed to the public.
Since Didi announced its USD100 million investment in Lyft in 2015, the two parties have reached a deal in interface integration and information sharing. Li said the information exchange of the two parties will be limited to necessary information that connects passengers and drivers, and no personal detailed information will be included.
Statistics provided by Li showed that in 2015, 1.43 billion times of car services were completed on Didi platform. At present, Didi platform has 14 million private car owners and drivers.
Though this service is aimed at Chinese visiting America, users in America can still signup and they will still be sending some of their data to servers in China, as that is where Did will realize transactions. And all payments will still be structured through Chinese online payment providers like WeChat and Alipay. So caution may be considered if and when a user decides to use these Chinese services outside of mainland China.