How do ride-hailing giants Didi and Uber compare?

Platform Industry News: Ride-sharing driver

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global is set to make its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange after an IPO that sources said raised $4.4 billion, valuing it at $67.5 billion.

That made it the biggest share sale by a Chinese company in the US in seven years. Didi absorbed Uber’s China business in 2016 – Uber retains a 12.8% stake in the firm – and averaged 25 million rides a day in the first three months of the year in China, where it is the dominant operator.

Here are some key facts of the company and its global rival, US-based industry pioneer Uber Technologies Inc, which has a market capitalisation of $95 billion:

FOUNDING

  • Didi was founded by Chief Executive Will Cheng, formerly at Alibaba, in Beijing in 2012. Co-founder and President Jean Liu joined in 2014.
  • Uber was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. It went public in May 2019.

BUSINESS PROFILE

  • Didi’s main business is ride-hailing in China. It operates in 15 international markets including South America, Japan, Australia, Russia and South Africa. It also provides services including food delivery, community group buying and logistics.
  • Uber’s core business includes ride-hailing, which operates in about 70 countries, and restaurant food delivery under its Uber Eats brand in 34 countries. The company generates the bulk of its revenue in the US and Canada.
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DRIVERS

  • Didi has 15 million annual active drivers globally for the twelve months ended March, 2021.
  • Uber Technologies in February 2020 said it had some 5 million drivers worldwide.

PROFITABILITY?

  • Didi was loss-making from 2018 through 2020 but made a $30 million profit in the first quarter this year. This is extraordinarily rare for businesses operating in the gig economy.
  • Uber keeps losing money but has promised investors to be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis by the end of this year.

CARS

  • Many Didi drivers rent cars from fleet companies. Didi has fleet management partnerships with carmakers including Toyota, BYD and Nissan.
  • Uber drivers in most of the company’s markets are independent contractors who use their own vehicles. Uber disbanded its own vehicle rental program in 2018, but drivers can still sign up for short-term rentals with other companies.

TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Didi is testing autonomous driving with a fleet of more than 100 cars.
  • Uber in December sold its autonomous driving unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), to self-driving automotive business Aurora.
  • Didi rolled out a purpose-built vehicle for ride-hailing with China’s BYD and is working on a future model with autonomous driving functions with GAC, a Chinese carmaker.
  • Uber Technologies announced it was working with British electric van and bus maker Arrival to develop a purpose-built model for ride-hailing that will go into production in 2023.
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The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘How do ride-hailing giants Didi and Uber compare?‘ article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tina Bellon. Editing by Tony Munroe and Louise Heavens.

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