Business / Technology

Uber taps into needs of international tourists

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-16 09:07

Uber taps into needs of international tourists

Photo taken on April 14, 2016 shows a Uber car-hailing station in Longyang Avenue, Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province.[Photo/IC]

Uber Technologies Inc announced on Wednesday a new business initiative focusing on providing ride-hailing services to China's increasingly affluent tourists, a move to grab more market share from local rival Didi Chuxing.

The United States-based tech giant said it will leverage its global presence and partners around the world to offer Chinese tourists a seamless traveling experience.

"The number of Uber trips ordered by Chinese outbound travelers surged nearly eight times in the first quarter compared with the same period last year," said Liu Zhen, senior vice-president for Uber China.

According to Liu, the tourism industry can serve as the best gateway to tap into the ride-hailing demand in China as the industry contributed to more than 10 percent of China's GDP.

Uber also announced on Wednesday its first batch of partners for the initiative named Uber+Travel. The list includes several travel services providers from HNA Group, parent company of Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, to online travel agency Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd.

Uber, which entered China about one and half years ago, said Chinese users had completed nearly 1 million trips via the app in countries outside China in the first five months this year. And its non-Chinese users had completed 3 million trips in 24 cities when traveling in China between January and May.

Wang Xiaofeng, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc, said it is an effective strategy for Uber to win users by tapping into the needs of tourists.

"Didi Chuxing has formed an alliance with overseas ride-hailing apps Lyft Inc, Ola and GrabTaxi, so that it can provide a ride service to cross-border travelers. But Uber genetically has advantages in global traveling," she said.

Uber, which has a plan to expand its service in 100 cities in China, said it has launched its service in 60 Chinese cities so far.

Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber, said the company has completed more trips in China than in its home market-the United States.

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