Publicis Groupe's Zenith and Saatchi & Saatchi wins ride share company DiDi

China's Didi launches in Australia expanding battle with Uber

Didi Chuxing Technology Co Ltd, the Chinese ride-sharing company which bought the mainland operations of Uber Technologies Inc, said it will begin offering its service this month in Australia, its first foray in a Western country.

The Beijing-based company has started signing up drivers since June 1 and has started a trial in the Australian city of Geelong last month.

So, to celebrate its launch, DiDi says it will offer "attractive welcome programs to both passengers and drivers in Melbourne".

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The company, which expanded its services to Mexico recently, is in the midst of a major global expansion.

In December $4 billion was raised by Didi to develop general technology, AI and fund its global expansion.

The scheduled June 25 launch in Australia's second biggest city Melbourne sets Didi up for a showdown with the US rival it bought out in China in exchange for a stake. And in February, it announced plans for a ride-hailing venture in Japan with Japanese tech company SoftBank.

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The company released a statement saying that during 2018, Didi would continue cultivating markets across Australia, Japan and Latin America, and is confident a combination of top transportation AI technology and expertise at the local level will bring a better customer experience to its overseas markets.

DiDi says it "believes in the power of combining global technology capabilities with locally-nuanced operations to bring safer, more efficient and innovative mobility services to market", and has "gradually increased its worldwide footprint by recently expanding its services into Greater China and Latin America".

In the case of Australia, Didi will come up against Uber, Ola - present in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney via an expansion made earlier this year - and Taxify, too. Unlike Grab, which has seen Didi follow-on its investments, the Chinese firm sat out Ola's most recent fundraising a year ago despite making an investment in the company back in 2015. Taxify and Ola did not immediately respond to Quartz's request for comment.

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