China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is moving executives to Latin America and recruiting local staff as it prepares to battle Uber Technologies in countries including Chile, Colombia and Peru, Reuters reports.
Didi and Uber already compete directly in Brazil and Mexico, where the Chinese company has made life difficult for Uber by poaching drivers with offers of higher rates and bonuses for signing up other drivers. The two firms also conducted a bruising battle for control of China’s ride-hailing market, which ended in 2016 when Didi bought out Uber’s Chinese operations.
Didi plans to position itself as a leader in quality in countries like Chile, where ride-hailing is still not properly regulated and the existing players, including Uber, Spanish firm Cabify and Greek startup Beat, operate in a legal gray area.
But the Chinese firm is facing headwinds at home, with the company confirming last Friday that it will lay off 15% of its workforce—around 2,000 people, according to Technode—after posting recorded losses of $1.6 billion in 2018.