China’s Didi restructures key units to improve safety following passenger deaths – TechCrunch
China’s largest ride-hailing operator Didi Chuxing announced on Wednesday a major restructuring, which trails a series of tweaks to its core businesses following two separate passenger murders that happened in May and September.
The reshuffle will see Didi — which owns Uber’s China business — knit three key platforms into a new overarching Ride-hailing Business Group (RBG). The merger of Express, Premier, and Luxe, its car-hailing offerings in ascending order of quality and rates, comes just a few months after Didi rebranded and upgraded Premium, one of its fastest-growing segments.
Meanwhile, Didi is facing regulatory pressure to enhance safety measures and striving to regain trust from consumers.
“With safety as its top priority, RBG will invest resources to meet compliance standards, continuously create user value and strengthen our ride-hailing ecosystem,” Didi says in a statement.
The plan includes an upgrade in customer services, driver safety, and emergency responses. Defects in the last area have led to one of the passenger incidents, in which a female passenger failed to contact Didi for help.
As part of the change, Didi is appointing a new chief safety executive and chief security executive (in the sense of information security) who will directly report to the company’s chief executive officer Cheng Wei and chief technology officer Zhang Bo, respectively.
Chinese authorities have stepped up scrutiny on the country’s fledgling car-hailing industry following Didi’s passenger murders, including stricter verification processes for drivers and their vehicles. The controls have prompted a sharp decline in the number of rides available, urging Didi to help drivers attain new licenses.
Aside from addressing safety concerns, Didi is adding fresh growth engines through the reshuffle. The Automobile Solutions Platform will launch consisting of Didi’s Asset Management Center and Xiaoju Automobile Solutions. The newly minted group is set to explore retail opportunities and sells a flurry of existing services, including car sales, loans, car maintenance, and refueling, to Didi’s 31 million drivers.
“Didi automobile solutions will continue to develop customized for-share vehicles and incubate new auto-related businesses to become the new engine for Didi’s long-term growth,” the company says of its driver-centric platform.
Didi declined to comment when asked by TechCrunch about the potential impact its restructuring brings to revenues.
Lastly, Didi is upping the ante in cabs and bringing shared bicycles, electric bikes, and other public transportation solutions under one umbrella in a bid to serve China’s mass. The car-hailing titan will also smoothen internal coordination by forming two new units – the Finance and Operations department, and the Legal department.