It’s been about a week and a half since WeChat, the messaging app that’s dominating smartphones in China, added taxi booking and payments to its range of services. The maker of WeChat, Chinese web giant Tencent, added support for the Didi Dache service after investing nearly $100 million into it. Today the fine folks at 36kr say that the total number of completed transactions – meaning taxis hailed and paid for inside of WeChat – have surpassed 100,000.
On the first day of Didi Dache’s appearance within WeChat – which was originally only in the iOS version, and only in Beijing – Chinese users made over 20,000 taxi bookings, over 6,000 of which were completed using WeChat payments.
The service rolled out to more cities and over onto Android by January 8. Didi Dache tells 36kr that from January 10 to January 12th, daily bookings and transactions on WeChat clocked in at 27,000, 36,000, and 38,000 respectively.
Driven to succeed
Didi Dache and its backers have long been subsidizing the costs of using the app for both drivers and consumers in an effort to squeeze out competition. These boosts have come in the form of reduced telephone fees, data fees, or in plain old money. Unsurprisingly, these tactics has continued following Didi Dache’s arrival on WeChat. Starting last Friday, Didi Dache and Tencent launched a promotion in which drivers who use WeChat payments to accept the fare receive a bonus of RMB 10 (about $1.65), capped at RMB 50 each day. Customers who pay for the ride through WeChat, meanwhile, get a RMB 10 discount on the fare, capped at RMB 30 for each day. Didi and Tencent will also provide 10,000 lucky passengers with free rides each day.
Chinese research firm iResearch estimates that Didi Dache occupies upwards of 50 percent of China’s taxi-hailing app market when measured both for registered users and daily bookings. Its primary competitor increasingly looks to be the Hangzhou-based Kuaide Dacche. Alibaba is an investor in Kuaide Dache and lets users pay drivers on the app through its Alipay payment platform.
(Editing by Steven Millward)
(Image via Flickr user foxxyz)