Taxi-booking apps battling in multi-million-yuan market
2014-February-12 Source: Szdaily web edition
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Taxi-booking applications for mobile phones are seeing an increasingly competitive market in Shenzhen and across China as companies spend hundreds of million of yuan on incentives to lure customers.

In the latest maneuver, developers of the Didi Taxi app lowered incentives for successful cab requests from 10 yuan (US$1.64) to 5 yuan per ride as of yesterday, the Daily Sunshine reported.

Shenzhen-based Tencent teamed up with CITIC Private Equity Funds Management Co. to invest 100 million yuan in the Didi app, which offered cab drivers and passengers a 10-yuan incentive for every successful order paid through Tencent’s WeChat from Jan. 10 to Monday.

Following that round of incentives, Didi developers have invested another 500 million yuan to continue funding rebates for drivers and passengers in efforts to boost its market share, the Daily Sunshine added. A company executive said the lowered incentives will spread the money further.

“Our company lowered the incentives per ride to let more people enjoy them,” said a manager of the South China branch of Beijing Xiaoju Keji Didi Dache, developer of Didi Taxi. “How long the incentives will last is unknown.”

More than 5 million mobile phone users paid taxi fares through WeChat and the Didi app between Jan. 10 and Friday, an average of more than 160,000 per day, according to statistics released by Tencent.

Meanwhile, the Kuaidi Taxi app has provided 10 yuan for passengers and 15 yuan for drivers for every successful order through Alipay since Jan. 21.

Alipay, the payment service linked to China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, announced in January that it had invested 500 million yuan in the Kuaidi app. The app’s number of users has increased from 23 million to 35 million nationwide since the incentives began last month.

Some cab drivers and passengers who use the Didi app have said they might now change to Kuaidi.

“I made an extra 20 to 30 yuan each day from incentives provided by Didi Taxi last month,” said a cab driver surnamed Guo. “I’m now considering using the Kuaidi Taxi app, which provides more incentives.”

A Shenzhen resident surnamed Wang said he plans to switch, as well.

“I was disappointed that Didi Taxi lowered its incentives,” Wang said.

Editor: Olivia
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