Uber China to shut old app interface, drivers merged

Updated 2016-11-26 08:45:27 Xinhua

Uber China will shut its old mobile app interface this weekend, to be replaced by a new one that integrates its functions and the drivers' pool with Didi Chuxing four months after the merger, a company spokesman said Friday.

Didi acquired Uber's China operations in August and became the No.1 ride-hailing service provider in China with 15 million drivers and over 400 million registered users.

Wang Zuoyi, a spokesperson for Didi, told Xinhua that the existing Uber China app interface will be terminated on Nov. 27. All Uber China platform's drivers and users are urged to move to a new interface introduced early November.

Foreigners with Uber accounts are also required to download the new app if they would like to use Uber services in China.

The app has similar layout and functions as the old one, but drops the luxurious vehicle hailing category, formerly known as Uber Black, to focus on more popular low-end and medium-level services: People's Uber and Uber X.

Wang said the app upgrade gives Uber users more choices to hail rides from Didi's 15 million drivers. Uber China's drivers have reportedly been moving over to Didi in the past few months.

"But Uber China has not quit China market," Huang said. "It is there, and clients can still use the service."

He said Uber China will continue to operate its platform with its own team.

Prior to the tie-up, Uber was one of very few foreign tech firms able to compete with domestic rivals head-on in China. Though Didi had bigger market share, Uber managed to gain foothold in lower-tier cities. The two had been locked in fierce price wars to compete for market share.

Didi started out in June 2012 as a small company with 700 employees, operating a mobile app to help people hail taxis on big Chinese cities' crowded roads.

But over the years it has expanded services to include private car ride sharing, chauffeur services, car rentals and corporate transport solutions. The company was valued at 35 billion U.S. dollars after its Uber merger.

In another move, Didi partnered with U.S. car rental Avis Budget Group in November to allow Didi users to rent cars from about 10,000 Avis Car and Budget Car outlets in more than 170 countries and regions.

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