Recently a few readers reported that while using the popular Chinese app, Didi Chuxing, a notification kept appearing requesting Chinese ID.
After the recent changes involving Uber, this understandably caused a bit of fear and panic among foreign users. Uber was bought out by Didi Chuxing earlier this year in a move that proved Chinese companies know the market best. Uber had been “bleeding” money in the Chinese market, and finally accepted defeat.
After the buyout, Uber required all users to update the app. The update changed in interface into Chinese and then required users to enter a Chinese ID. This essentially made the app altogether worthless for expats.
With these rumors spreading around the city, we investigated the details of the changes.
Chen Xiaoni, a representative of Didi Chuxing through the Brunswick Group, Didi’s PR company, explained that the notification is only for Didi’s popular service called Hitch (顺风车). As the name implies, it’s a ride sharing option between non-commercial drivers and riders. The company is requiring that ID for rides that take driver and passenger from one starting city to a different destination city.
Without Chinese ID, riders will only be able to travel within the city of ride origin.
“The system only accepts users holding Chinese IDs because Didi can’t verify foreign passports at this stage. The company is working on solving this issue and hope to find a solution in the future,” Chen explained.
Though this is bad news for foreigners who were using Hitch to go between cities, everyone else can take a deep breath. Life will not get drastically more difficult for expats looking for a typical taxi ride when this new change takes affect this year on December 29.
“Other than Hitch, other services provided on Didi Chuxing platform such as express cars and private cars don’t require real name registration. Users can use these services as usual,” Chen reassured us.
Photos: Andrew N.