In December, word broke that Chinese ride-share service Didi Chuxing would be launching its first overseas expansion in Mexico. According to Reuters (via Engadget), the company has launched a website to recruit drivers and passengers in the city of Toluca, and the app will reportedly go live later this month.
A Didi Chuxing spokesperson wouldn’t comment to Reuters on the timeline for the app’s launch, but said that its operations will begin “very soon.” The company has also released a pair of advertisements touting the service in Toluca, which invite drivers to apply for the service. To help entice drivers to sign up, Didi says it won’t take a service charge through June 17th, 2018. After that point, the company will charge a 20 percent service rate.
Didi’s arrival in the US could spell a challenge its much larger rival Uber. Apple invested $1 billion in the company in May 2016 (a month later, it raised an additional $7 billion), before buying Uber’s Chinese unit for $35 billion, shutting the company out of the country. There have been other signs that Didi has been eyeing the international market: it made its app available in English for the first time in 2017, and earlier this year, it bought a controlling stake in 99, a major ride-share app in Brazil. Uber has faced its own massive challenges in the last year, allowing its major domestic rival Lyft to outpace it in growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, which could be an opportunity for the Chinese company.