ChinaTravelNews –Baidu map and its mega partner Uber have finally launched joint operations. Our reporter took the new collaboration on a test drive on April 29, armed with an android smartphone.
Our reporter logged onto the Baidu Map app and clicked the “car ride” choice from the “around me” search list and opened up the Uber ride-hailing portal.
On April 28 Peoples Uber made Baidu Wallet its third-party payment platform. Our source at Uber told ChinaTravelNews that Uber’s ride hailing service would be available on Baidu Map’s Android version but not yet on its IOS app.
These moves are the first fruits of the global strategic partnership announced by Uber and Baidu on December 12 last year.
Uber entered the Chinese market in 2013 and now mainly operates in nine cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In just over a year Uber has rapidly localized but is now facing major rebalance of power in the chauffeur market.
China’s two largest taxi hailing apps Didi Taxi and Kuaididache entered the chauffeur service market last year. Backed by major players, the two arch rivals merged early this year, dealing a heavy blow on local contender Yongche that harbors ambitions for market leadership and putting pressure on Uber too.
Uber has found a major source of online support in the Chinese market after getting investment from Baidu. Baidu Map has over 70% coverage among Chinese smartphone users, or four times the coverage of rival Amap. Baidu Map’s inclusion of Uber will solve Uber’s low traffic issue and accelerate its distribution in China.
(Report by Jianjun Yao)
(Translation by David)