Just over two weeks ago, cab-booking app EasyTaxi started taking orders within the WeChat messaging app. How’s that working out so far? Joon Chan, EasyTaxi’s regional manager and director for Southeast Asia, tells Tech in Asia that 5,000 rides have so far been taken by people who booked in WeChat.
Joon describes the WeChat tie-up as a “fantastic partnership.” It’s only available in Singapore at the moment ahead of rolling out across EasyTaxi’s other markets in Asia. To use it, a WeChat user must first search for the EasyTaxi ‘official account’ in the messaging app (called ‘EasyTaxiSGP’). Then after logging in to your EasyTaxi account, you can snag a ride inside WeChat in exactly the same way you would from within EasyTaxi’s own app.
It’s WeChat’s first push into ecommerce and mobile services in a market other than its native China. For a sense of scale, WeChat users booked over 100,000 taxi rides in nine days in China (connected to the Didi Dache taxi-booking app, which only operates in China) when that started in January this year.
Joon affirms that, as promised on launch day, an online payment system for the WeChat-booked taxi rides is still being worked on by Tencent (HKG:0700), the maker of the app. He adds that Tencent and EasyTaxi are both marketing the tie-up in a sign of how keen they are to work together.
EasyTaxi’s main rival in Singapore and across Southeast Asia is GrabTaxi.