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Chinese ride-hailing app Didi is offering financial services

China's biggest ride-hailing company will now allow users to get health insurance and loans...

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 2:27 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 2:27 PM

China's biggest ride-hailing company will now allow users to get health insurance and loans on its app.

Didi Chuxing rolled out a host of financial services on Wednesday, including auto financing and wealth management products, as it tries to build new streams of revenue.

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The company began testing the services in early 2018, conducting trials in 10 Chinese cities including Chongqing and Zhengzhou, before launching them this week across the country.

It aims to "provide innovative and reliable personal financial products in an era of new economy and flexible employment," Didi said in a statement.

The move pits Didi against more established players such as Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese tech giant Alibaba (BABA), at a time when its main ride-hailing business is facing public and government pressure.

Core business under pressure

The murders of two female Didi passengers last year sparked public outrage, prompting the company that forced Uber out of China to suspend many of its services and add several new safety features. The deaths prompted greater scrutiny of China's ride-hailing industry from the country's authorities.

Ofo, the bike-sharing company that Didi staked tens of millions of dollars on, is also struggling.

Didi, which is backed by SoftBank (SFTBF) and Apple (AAPL), will be hoping new products such as its health insurance offering, designed to "lower the entry barrier for gig economy workers," can help get it back on track.

"Financial services are expected to help Didi build a stronger network of collaboration and shared interests and in turn, a tighter and more efficient transportation ecosystem," the company said.

Didi isn't the only ride-hailing firm to try and branch out beyond its core business. Grab, which bought Uber's southeast Asia business last year, is expanding into digital payments and healthcare services.

The Singapore-based company wants to be "a daily lifestyle platform," Grab President Ming Maa told CNN Business in December.

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