Uber In China Now Uses A Separate App And This Is Going To Be A Nightmare For Foreigners

Zarmeen Shahzad
Posted Nov 28, 2016
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Now here is some news for all you people visiting China. You will no longer be able to use Uber for your rides and even many of the residents will be facing some issues in the service from now on. Why? Well, here is why. Didi Chuxing, a ride sharing company, is currently in the process of acquiring the business of Uber in China and they rolled out an update that the Uber in China will be operated from a separate app from the rest of the world now. One app for China and one for the rest of the world? Yes, that’s right. The change was announced last month but it became effective at 4 am Beijing time on 27th November.

Uber China

New Uber app new features

The new app pretty much looks like the old version of Uber in China but it has some very significant differences. One difference is that the new version requires a new account to be made and for using this account you must have a Chinese mobile number and Chinese payment method. The payment methods could be anything such as Union Pay, Alibaba’s Alipay digital wallet or Baidu Wallet etc. According to the company Uber users have had a month long transition period and this has helped ‘the majority’ to upgrade to the new setup. However, you can see one problem with this new setup. Anyone who is visiting the country or doesn’t hold the necessary payment options will not be able to use the service. “We apologize to our users for any inconvenience may be caused by this transition. The Uber China team has been working hard to make the new version faster-responding and more user friendly,” Uber China/Didi said in a statement.

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Didi app

Problems and ambitions

Well this is a bummer for anyone who will be visiting China. With globalization one expected that the issue of getting a taxi will be resolved but it seems that we have one more thing to worry about. Didi’s apps are also available only in Mandarin and required local phone numbers and payment mechanisms. In situations like these visitors found it easier to use Uber than use an app that didn’t allow them service. All those who have tried to call for a taxi in a foreign language little known to them can attest that getting a ride on the streets of China is no piece of cake. Didi said that the company will be introducing “multilingual, international features” in the future but unfortunately no time frame was given as to when this will happen.

Didi admitted recently that it has ambitions of expansion overseas. The company didn’t tell exactly how they plan on doing the expansion, whether they will be looking into an organic form of growth or via acquisition of allies like Grab (Southeast Asia), Ola (India) or Lyft (U.S.). It may be unclear at this point but it is certain that Didi is on the lookout for opportunities and is currently testing waters through a partnership with rental giant Avis that allows users to book a car overseas using the Didi app.

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