Powerful Uber competitor to launch in Cape Town

Didi, the world’s leading mobile transportation and local services platform, will start to offer ride-hailing services in Cape Town soon.

DiDi announces this new expansion following the successful pilot launch of its operation in Gqeberha on 1 March 2021.

Over 2,000 drivers connected to DiDi’s app this month and more than 20,000 Gqeberha residents signed up for the service.

Didi said it has started its registration process for drivers in Cape Town and will begin offering ride-hailing services this fall.

Stephen Zhu, senior vice president and head of DiDi’s International Business, said the launch of DiDi in South Africa marks another milestone for the company which aims to bring “safe and affordable transportation options to people around the world”.

DiDi offers ride hailing services in 14 countries outside of China, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Russia, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina.

“South Africa has been hit particularly hard by this pandemic that has upended all of our lives – so as this beautiful country looks to recover and rebuild, we would like to do our part,” said Zhu.

He said DiDi will help by providing better earning opportunities for drivers as well as safer and more affordable mobility options for South Africans.

DiDi said it brings its wide range of safety features to benefit users and driving partners, including:

  • Facial recognition for drivers
  • SOS buttons for riders and drivers linked to local police
  • 24/7 support via a dedicated safety hotline
  • Preview information for riders and drivers
  • Safety training for drivers.

DiDi has also introduced health guard technologies to ensure that masks are worn during trips and that all vehicles are disinfected.

It further provides financial assistance to driver-partners in overseas markets through a dedicated USD$10 million relief fund.

Riders can immediately download the DiDi app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store now.

However, they will be presented with a “Currently unavailable in your area” message until the service is launched in their area.

DiDi cars and drivers

The DiDi South Africa website offers details on driver requirements and the vehicles which can be used.

Driver applicants will need to use the DiDi Driver app to submit all the required documentation to use the platform.

Documents needed as part of the application include a copy of your ID, Professional Driving Permit (PrDP), Operators Card, and Operating Licence.

As an added incentive, drivers who register and are activated pre-launch will be eligible for 0% commission for their earnings during the first four weeks after launch.

According to a vehicle requirements section, there will be four DiDi ride hailing products – Hero, Express, Care, and DiDi Go.

For the Hero, Express, and Care offerings, drivers will require a four-door sedan or multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) with a model year of 2015 or later.

These include models from Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Kia, Nissan, and others.

DiDi’s Hero, Express, and Care services will compete with Uber and Bolt’s standard and luxury ride-hailing options.

DiDi Go drivers can operate with smaller and older cars, similar to Uber and Bolt’s budget Go services.

These include hatchbacks with four seats from 2013 and later, in addition to sedan models going back to 2011.

The models which are approved by DiDi for the various products are shown in the tables below.


Now read: Price hikes and job losses – What could happen if Uber drivers become employees in South Africa

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Powerful Uber competitor to launch in Cape Town