VICTORIA – Chinese ride-sharing giant DiDi launches Geelong trial.

CHINESE ride-sharing giant DiDi is setting up in Geelong as it takes its first step into the Australian market in a head-on battle with Uber.
DiDi Mobility (Australia) is testing its ride sharing app for the local market ahead of an official launch, which is yet to be announced but the company has confirmed plans to offer the DiDi Express platform in other Australian markets after trials in Geelong.
DiDi services more than 450 million users across 400 cities in China. DiDi Mobility is a subsidiary of Didi Chuxing which provides a range of app-based transportation services to more than 450 million users across 400 cities in China.
It launched its first foray overseas as an English language app in opposition to Uber, which also launched its Australian operations in Geelong.
In a statement, the company said it had chosen Geelong to incubate DiDi Express as it had one of the highest ride-sharing penetrations of any city in the country.
“This is supported by a vibrant start-up scene, receptiveness to new technology, and a supportive local government,” the statement said.
DiDi Mobility said it was preparing to roll out its service to broader regions in Australia in the next few months.
“During this period our goal is to work with the Geelong community to understand their mobility needs and how we can make our platform work for them,” the statement said.
A company representative was not available to elaborate on the Geelong operations or about going up against Uber.
It is understood a formal launch of Didi Express is in the pipeline and the company is seeking drivers.
“We look forward to using the insights from our Geelong launch to create a superior ridesharing service for drivers and customers across Australia,” the company said.