Enjoy the convenience of Uber but own a car? There might be something in China for you. Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s biggest rival in the world’s most populous country, has launched a personal chauffeur service, its latest in a series of efforts to diversify its business.
The new service, Didi Kuaidi’s second new venture since it landed a whopping $2 billion in fresh funding in July, is specifically for car owners who are looking for a person to ferry them around in their own automobile. Customers are charged a fix rate for the first 10km, with an additional fee for each further kilometre added. Didi Kuaidi, created when China’s top two taxi-hailing services merged earlier this year, said that it has already recruited one million would-be chauffeurs to get the service rolling, so to speak. (Chauffeuring may seem decadent in the West, but it is popular across China and other parts of Asia.)
The chauffeur service is initially available in 10 cities, but Didi Kuaidi — which claims to be ferrying three million people in China per day across its taxi apps — plans to extend it to 15 as soon as next month.
Like the bus service it launched last month, there are high hopes for this new segment:
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Industry analysis shows that China’s chauffeur market is expected to reach a transaction volume of RMB 2.69 billion [$433 million] by the end of 2015. The market penetration of chauffeur services in China is still relatively low with business chauffeur services, tourism chauffeur services and other services yet to be fully explored creating vast potential for future growth.