Business / Technology

Videographic: the battle of the taxi apps

By Liu Zheng ( Updated: 2014-02-17 09:17


Last year in China, the use of mobile phone applications to book taxis went into overdrive to meet the demands of customers.

The applications, or apps, also hailed down the interest of investors and set off a furious price war on the streets of China's largest cities.

The battle of the taxi apps began at the end of 2011, when YaoYao Taxi launched first taxi-hiring application in Beijing.

The next year, KuaiDi Taxi began serving customers in Hangzhou, offering the first taxi app to support payment by Alipay, the e-payment arm of the Alibaba Group.

Over the next two years, KuaiDi Taxi would cover more than 40 cities, securing one of the top slots in the ultra-competitive industry.

Later in 2012, DiDi Taxi, the new player, debuted in Beijing. In 2013, Da Huangfeng Taxi launched in Shanghai. Also in 2013, Taxi Assistant, or Dache Xiaomi, started up in the capital, providing services on social media platform WeChat.

By the middle of 2013, there were more than 50 taxi-hailing apps in China and the heated competition created an unruly marketplace.

Things became so competitive many cities were forced to intervene.

Shenzhen banned all taxi drivers from using the apps. And in Bejing, the transport commission required all taxi apps be integrated into a public dispatch platform.

Even Beijing’s international airport has clamped down. According to a local newspaper, last week airport authorities told passengers and taxi drivers not to use taxi-booking the apps, warning that taxi drivers will be fined.

If the taxi apps caused problems for some, they were also creating huge profits for others.

In April of last year, DiDi Taxi collected a $25 million investment from Tencent and in May, KuaiDi Taxi reportedly received several million dollars from Alibaba.

In January, Didi Taxi received a new round of $100 million in funding. Of that sum, $30 million was from Tencent.

Despite all the action in the industry, the battle of the taxi apps may only be beginning. As of last year, analysts say Kuaidi Dache held 41.8 percent of market, and Didi Dache was close behind with 39 percent.

Story: Liu Zheng

Animation: Liu Zheng

Voiceover: Charles McDermid

Producer: Zhao Tingting

Executive producer: Han Lei

Videographic: the battle of the taxi apps

Videographic: the battle of the taxi apps

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Videographic: the battle of the taxi apps


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