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The Herald Sun Digital Edition: Smooth ride for Chinese tourists
CHINESE ride-hailing titan DiDi will this weekend launch a new feature allowing many of the 1.6 million Chinese visitors to Australia each year to use their existing mobile app.
The company, which services more rides globally and is worth more than Uber, is capitalising on the fact the number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia is at an all-time high and growing.
Called Roaming, the new feature allows Chinese visitors to use the DiDi app in Australia in the same way they're used to at home.
It is likely to increase income for DiDi's drivers across Melbourne and Geelong.
'We expect to generate thousands of additional DiDi rides across Melbourne and Geelong each day,' DiDi general manager for Australia and New Zealand Dillon Ye said.
Mr Ye said DiDi operated across 400 cities and had 550 million users in China.
'Given this number, we anticipate that a significant number of Chinese visitors coming to Australia will be existing DiDi users in China,' he said.
That created 'an enormous opportunity for DiDi driverpartners to access new riders and grow their earnings in Melbourne and longer term across Australia' .
The roaming service eliminates two traditional barriers for Chinese visitors in Australia : language and payment.
Riders will be able to use their familiar in-app online payment method, while a bilingual auto-translating in-app message system lets riders and drivers communicate. Didi was launched in Melbourne earlier this year after carrying out tests in Geelong.
It was the official 'ridesharing partner' for this year's AFL Grand Final. Australia was the third international market it launched into after Brazil and Mexico.
'We see enormous potential to bring a positive influence to our partnerships through China Roaming by building brand awareness of major events among Chinese tourists and visitors,' Mr Ye said. 'Consistent with DiDi's mission to improve the world's transportation experience with AI technology, DiDi wishes to be a long-term investor and business partner of Australia by offering customised ridesharing and smart transportation services throughout the region.'
DiDi Victorian manager Abigail Holman said the business would expand into other cities in due course.
'We look forward to continuing to grow our presence across Australia,' she said.
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