Didi to offer expat aimed English language ride sharing app by summer

Published:  22 Feb at 6 PM
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Expats in China who were devastated when Uber removed its English language interface after its sale to Didi can take heart that ride-sharing will again be a reaiity in the near future.

Some three months after Uber was taken over by Didi Chuxing, its English language interface, ability to work overseas and option to pay with credit cards issued by foreign banks were all removed from the app. Expats in China were left with no option but to struggle with the Chinese language whilst getting lost courtesy of Chinese taxi drivers or local transport.

The more-than welcome news that Didi is now planning to reintroduce the English language interface on its own app came via the discovery by a few Android smartphone users of an English language beta version on Didi’s site. Upgrading the site produced the English interface, clearly on trial as parts were still in Chinese. Users found that, after three days, the app reverted to its Chinese language original, leading to the belief that the new interface was for selected users only.

When approached by English language media reporters, a Didi spokesperson confirmed the company is ‘working on providing international and multi-lingual services to broader communities’. Columnist for the Beijinger lifestyle blog Michael Wester believes the official version is to be launched some time between spring and summer this year, quoting unidentified sources. International credit cards are already accepted by Didi as payment options.

The company recently announced its newly set up international business division as well as its intent to explore new internationalization models in 2017. Didi’s stake in multiple global ride-hailing companies including Uber’s global unit and Grab will result in its users from mainland China being able to grab a cab from equivalent overseas local services while travelling.

As regards expats living and working in China’s major cities, the re-establishment of the hugely popular and convenient English language service can’t come soon enough.
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