China’s Didi Chuxing partners WhatsApp for ride-hailing in Brazil

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Didi Chuxing is seen at its headquarters in Beijing, China, May 18, 2016. Reuters

Brazilian ride-hailing service 99, controlled by China’s Didi Chuxing Technology Co Ltd, has partnered with WhatsApp to accept orders on the chat platform owned by Facebook in a move that would allow users to summon cars without using another app.

The partnership is the first of its kind in the world for Didi, China’s biggest ride-hailing company, the companies said, and could give 99 an advantage in competing with U.S.-based Uber Technologies Inc , the market leader in Brazil.

WhatsApp has 120 million active users in Brazil, which has a population of 210 million, making it the app’s second-largest market behind India. 99 has about 20 million customers registered with its app and more than 750 thousand active drivers across Brazil.

Uber declined to comment.

The service, initially limited to four cities in São Paulo state, will expand to the whole of Brazil by the end of 2020, said Livia Pozzi, operations manager at 99.

The partnership is primarily aimed at low income Brazilians whose smartphones have less capacity to download apps, and people who live in regions whose mobile phone signals are weaker, she said.

“It will allow access to the service for a larger universe of people who will no longer need to download our app to order their rides,” Pozzi said.

Initially, rides ordered over WhatsApp will have to be paid in cash, which is how 70% of the orders via 99 are currently paid for, Pozzi said.

The fare will be the same as for rides ordered over the 99 app. At a later date, WhatsApp will allow users to use its new instant payments system to pay for rides on 99, said Gabriela Comazzetto, Facebook business director in Brazil.

The country’s Central Bank is allowing payments through the WhatsApp system on a trial basis.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.