Tencent Holdings has added an aggregated ride-hailing platform to its map app in a partnership with Didi Chuxing, giving users another entry point into ride hailing, although the move lags similar ones made by rivals Alibaba and Baidu.
With technology support by ride-hailing leader Didi, users can now book a trip with multiple service providers using Tencent Maps in selected cities in mainland China, according to Tencent News, the news outlet operated by Tencent.
With Apple, Tencent and Alibaba among its biggest shareholders, Didi last year opened its platform to rival companies, allowing users to hail a ride from third-party service providers. That makes Tencent a laggard among the BAT – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent – in giving users another entry point into the saturated ride hailing market.
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However, Tencent’s ubiquitous WeChat social app has for years given users the ability to book rides with various services, including Didi. The service is expected to be rolled out in all Chinese cities before October 1, the National Day holiday, if the initial launch goes smoothly.
Tencent Maps has already tested the ride-hailing aggregator in five cities; Dongguan, Shaoxing, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Xi’an, according to a statement issued by Tencent on Tuesday.
The first batch of service providers on the platform include Didi Chuxing, Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur and Yangguang Chuxing.
The partnership between Tencent and Didi offers a solution to passengers unable to book a ride with Didi during rush hours, and will help Tencent Maps improve its service by providing ride booking, the report cited an anonymous source as saying.
A check on the Tencent Maps app, with the GPS location set in Shenzhen, shows the option for ride hailing available on the main page. Users can book a ride or a traditional taxi from a list of service providers that include Didi and Shouqi, the car-hailing company backed by state-owned transport service group Beijing Shouqi.
Tencent’s launch of a ride-hailing aggregator app follows similar moves by the country’s tech giants including Alibaba and Baidu, increasing the rivalry in a highly competitive industry. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
Earlier in 2018, Alibaba launched a ride-hailing aggregator in its AutoNavi maps service, putting it on par with Baidu Maps, which already provides access to a variety of ride-hailing services within the app. The number of Chinese users for mobile maps service was estimated at 750 million last year, according to Beijing-based BigData Research.
AutoNavi leads the market with 33.8 per cent of active users, while Baidu Maps and Tencent Maps accounted for 31.5 per cent and 16.1 per cent respectively. AutoNavi had 530 monthly active users in June, according to third-party research firm QuestMobile.
Didi, which supplies the aggregation and dispatching technology for Tencent’s project, became the country’s dominant ride-hailing platform after it acquired Uber China in 2016.
Didi’s move came after Meituan Dianping, which offers services from food delivery to hotel bookings on its app, launched its own aggregated ride-hailing service to tap into the market.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing launches pilot self-driving robotaxi service in Shanghai
- Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing expands to smaller cities in Australia as part of global push
This article Chinese riders can now book a trip from Tencent’s map app as internet giant plays catch up first appeared on South China Morning Post