Juan Andrés Panamá
Director of Operations
DiDi Mexico
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View from the Top

DiDi, International Mobility Experience Available in Mexico

By Andrea Villar | Wed, 05/13/2020 - 05:00

Q: What have been the keys to your success in Mexico since starting operations in November 2018?

A: We have a great understanding of the industry as the largest player in the world. Globally, DiDi completes 10 billion trips per year, which is twice the combined number of flights that all airlines make in the same period. This positions us as the largest mobility company in the world. Given this experience, we understand different markets and the different needs of users and drivers.

Because of this expertise, we launched a strategy focused on understanding what passengers and drivers in the Mexican ride-hailing market were looking for. While drivers were looking for higher profits and security, passengers have focused on more affordable prices and also greater security. This has become our focus for the past two years.

Q: What have been DiDi’s milestones after almost two years in the Mexican market?

A: The first achievement for us is the market penetration we have reached in just two years. We are present in 34 cities in Mexico and we have been able to use different locations in the country as testing grounds for many of our developments. A clear example is DiDi Food, initially launched in Guadalajara, which is now present in three cities. We also launched DiDi Comparte, our carpool service, in Merida, allowing passengers to share trips with other users.

These projects and their results have created trust among users. The proof is in our results: in 4Q19 we grew 250 percent the number of trips against 4Q18. This is extremely important and has attracted global attention.

We also recommend: Here is how DiDi is fighting COVID-19 in Mexico

Q: How has DiDi worked with local authorities to sort out any regulatory obstacles that may hinder the company’s arrival in new destinations?

A: One of the things that set us apart as a brand is the collaboration we have with authorities, which comes in our DNA as a Chinese company. We always divide our business in two ways: one is with passengers and drivers, and the other is with cities, as our mission is to improve their mobility environment. We know that without good collaboration with governments, we would never be able to improve mobility.

A clear example is the launch of DiDi Taxi in Oaxaca, a state that no mobility application had been able to reach. We approached the government and created the appropriate business model to launch this platform, which helps taxis within the state to be safer and more efficient. 

In Coahuila, we are the only application that has permission to operate. To achieve this, we had to understand the state’s regulation, talk to the government to understand its needs and concerns, as well as its operating rules. One of their biggest concerns is that all companies follow the appropriate procedures, get the necessary licenses and enroll their drivers in the government’s system. Once we understood this, we collaborated in benefit of the city and its inhabitants.

Q: What elements make the platform more attractive than others for potential drivers and users?

A: There are two very important advantages: the first is greater profits. We have the lowest take rate in all the cities where we operate, which ranges from 10 to 17.5 percent, while our competitors are above 25 percent. The second advantage is driver security, which is just as important as that of our users.

Drivers are the most exposed to insecurity as they make many trips every day. We are the only company in the market that verifies users who pay in cash beyond using social networks. We ask for official documentation if a user is going to pay with cash on their first trip. Also, for certain trips, we use facial validation software to better identify them. Beyond that, our drivers’ vehicles are equipped with a security toolkit that can contact specialized centers, either DiDi or 911. In several states, we are already connected to the C4 or C5 of the cities.

As for passengers, we offer more affordable rates than our competitors. This has helped us reach different areas of the cities in Mexico as more accessible rates open up a completely new market that did not exist before. Moreover, we have the most robust driver registration process in the industry. In addition to requesting all the documentation required by each regulation, we do background checks in national, state and international databases. The latter is especially important for border states.

 

DiDi is a Chinese mobile transportation platform with more than 550 million active users worldwide. The company provides app-based transportation services, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing and bike sharing and on-demand delivery services

Photo by:   Courtesy
Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst