Brazilian ride-hailing support 99, controlled by China’s Didi Chuxing Technology, has partnered with WhatsApp to accept orders on the conversation platform possessed by Facebook in a move that would allow users to summon cars without using another app.
The partnership is the first of its kind in the world for Didi, China’s largest ride-hailing company, the companies said, and could provide 99 an edge in competing with US-based Uber Technologies, the industry leader in Brazil.
WhatsApp has 120 million active users in Brazil, which has a population of 210 million, which makes it the app’s second-largest market behind India. 99 has about 20 million customers registered with its app and over 750 million active drivers across Brazil.
The service, originally limited to four towns in São Paulo state, will expand to the whole of Brazil by the end of 2020, stated Livia Pozzi, operations manager at 99.
The partnership is mostly geared toward low income Brazilians whose smartphones have significantly less capacity to obtain apps, and people who live in regions whose mobile phone signals are weaker, she explained.
“It will allow access to the service for a larger universe of people who will no longer need to download our app to order their rides,” Pozzi said.
Originally, rides ordered over WhatsApp will have to be compensated in money, which is how 70% of the orders through 99 are currently paid for, Pozzi said.
The fare will be the same as for rides ordered within the 99 app. In a later date, WhatsApp will allow users to utilize its new instant payments system to cover rides on 99, said Gabriela Comazzetto, Facebook business director in Brazil.
The country’s Central Bank is allowing payments through the WhatsApp system on a trial basis.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Aluisio Alves. Editing by Anthony Boadle and Richard Chang.
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