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Chinese ride-hailing firm DiDi looks set to join rivals Uber, Ola and Bolt in UK market

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi look set to join global rivals in the UK taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) market.

The operator pushed back original plans to launch in Britain and Europe following concerns over the handling of sensitive passenger data, according to news sources.

The ride-hailing giants were preparing to go toe-to-toe with global rivals Uber, Bolt and Ola, after an application submitted to Trafford Council emerged in the summer of 2022.

Didi had also obtained operating licences in other regions of the UK, but it was claimed the firm had pulled back on plans for at least 12 months, according to The Telegraph. (1)

However, images of a branded British DiDi PHV have emerged online on LinkedIn before Christmas. Advertising firm Drovo shared a picture of a bright orange minicab adding they were getting ‘Didi out on the road with an unstoppable advertising campaign’. The post was deleted in the New Year.

Online research shows DiDi have been busy applying for Operator licences across the UK. The Chinese firm have confirmed licences in Rotherham, Leicester (2), Sheffield and Edinburgh (3). The firm also applied for an operators licence in Glasgow (4), but it is unknown whether the licence was approved.

DiDi, also known as DiDi Chuxing, has over 500 million users across countries such as mainland China, Brazil, Mexico and Japan.

The company provides app-based transportation services, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing and bike sharing; on-demand delivery services; and automobile services, including sales, leasing, financing, maintenance, fleet operation, electric vehicle charging and co-development of vehicles with automakers.

The decision to pull from the UK in the summer cames after Didi faced pressure from the Chinese government. In the Summer share prices had plummeted £50billion since its flotation in June and authorities in Beijing have demanded the removal of the app from download stores.


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