2020 has been an eventful year for Chinese mobility giant DiDi. At the start of the year, when the Covid-19 outbreak gripped the entire world, the company sprung into action and was one of the few mobility companies that was battling the pandemic from the frontline.
As the year draws to a close, the company has now lifted the covers off D1, the world’s first electric vehicle custom-built for ride-hailing.
“Shared intelligent mobility is the optimum solution for the future of transportation. With the continued development of autonomous driving and AI technology, people will be able to enjoy a better travel experience through shared mobility,” said Founder and CEO, Cheng Wei, outlining the company’s blueprint for the next 10 years at the occasion of the unveiling.
DiDi joined hands with BYD, the world’s largest EV manufacturer, to co-develop the D1. The cars will hit the Chinese roads later in December under a pilot program in Changsha, before being rolled off to leasing partners in major Chinese cities in the coming few months.
Speaking about the D1, DiDi President, Jean Liu, added: “During the process of countless product upgrades, we realized that we were not satisfied with the progress we made on improving user experience. Therefore, we decided to focus our efforts on the vehicle itself.
As an industry first, DiDi has integrated the needs of hundreds of millions of users into the design of D1 by leveraging our data analytics and user feedback. Our product design team analysed almost 10 million advice and feedback, alongside survey results from over 10,000 drivers and passengers, as well as tens of workshops. There are many impressive stories to tell.”
Goals for the next Three Years
Shared electric mobility is just one of the many areas that DiDi is focusing on. You only have to look at its activities in the last one year to understand that the company’s ultimate aim is to be the holistic future mobility company, and the world’s largest one at that.
Already it has bagged the coveted spot of being the world’s largest mobile transportation and local services platform by volume of transactions. In October 2020 alone, daily trip volume for core mobility services globally exceeded 60 million and Monthly Active Users (MAU) exceeded 400 million.
Earlier in April, the company announced what it calls its ‘0188’ three-year strategic goals, offering a glimpse of the direction that it plans to take in the near future and what we can expect to see the company achieve. The abbreviation ‘0188’ stands for the short term quantitative goals that the company has set for itself.
“Without safety, the value of our business will go back to zero,” says Cheng. “We have built up a set of important infrastructure and core capabilities to achieve long-term growth. Our three-year strategy is based on our analysis of future industry and economic trends, and reflects our confidence in DiDi’s strength and value creation capabilities.”
● 0: Goal ZERO is to maintain its ongoing initiative to strive for a future without major safety and security incidents.
● 1: Competing 100 hundred million trips/orders per day globally by 2022.
● 8: Achieving 8% penetration of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) in China by 2022
● 8: Monthly Active Users (MAU) grows to 800 million with ever more diversified business lines by 2022
“As of June 2020, our China business recovered to 2019 pre-COVID levels, owing to the resilience of the Chinese urban economy and the strong performance of our new mobility and logistics services,” adds a DiDi spokesperson.
As long as we keep giving our best, this will continue to be an organization that achieves big dreams.
Here are some of the highlights of what 2020 looked like for DiDi.
● In July 2020, DiDi launched Huaxiaozhu, a new economy ride-hailing service to reach users in lower-tier cities as well as young users in China. Currently online mobility service has only less than 3% penetration in the total online and offline urban transportation market in China. There is a large unmet demand in many lower-tier cities and younger user groups.
● DiDi also upgraded its taxi service, Kuaidi New Taxi, to engage more taxi partners and hopes to grow their income through digital transformation of the taxi industry. Currently the online taxi-hailing rate in China is only 10%.
● As part of its national expansion in China, the company introduced new bike and e-bike models. As of June 3, 2020, trip volume across DiDi’s bike services saw a 5-fold growth over early February of the same year
● The company also expanded its logistic services into 8 cities, including the megacities of Shanghai, Chengdu and Hangzhou with 130,000 drivers registered on DiDi’s logistics platform and over 100,000 daily orders.
● In 2019, DiDi delivered a yearly total of over 1 billion trips in all international markets outside of China that it is present in.
● Currently, the company’s overseas markets are gradually rebounding. For instance, Brazil and Mexico are back to pre-COVID levels and continuing to grow.
● Today, DiDi offers mobility, food and delivery and payment services in more than 10 countries outside of China, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Panama and Peru. It aims to launch its service in more Latin American countries by the end of 2020
“Post-pandemic, DiDi continues to build an agile and efficient organization through proactive diversification, efficiency optimization and other innovation initiatives. We are very encouraged by our growth as a 2-year-old international company. We will continue to strengthen our position with local innovations driven by global capabilities,” the spokesperson adds.
Imperfect but Genuine…
As DiDi goes strength to strength and dominates the new mobility scene in the present, what will be really interesting to see is how it brings future mobility technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and autonomous mobility to the markets that it is present in, something that the company has its eyes set on for a while now.
All in all, 2020 has been quite a year for DiDi, and the year to come seems to be even more interesting already, with D1 hitting the roads in China.
As Liu perfectly sums it up: “We are an imperfect but genuine organization. As long as we keep giving our best, this will continue to be an organization that achieves big dreams, overcomes external cycles and evolves ever faster and better”.