Monday, May 8, 2017

Uh Oh Uber: Didi Chuxing Starts Rolling Out an English Language Version Of Its App

If Didi expands out of China the Ubester had better watch out. Here's the problem in a nutshell, Uber can't raise any more money.

They've already done the venture capitalists.
They've gone the debt route, last year they sold a $1.15 billion leveraged loan at 5%, not cheap money.
They tapped the Saudis for $3.5 billion including who-knows-what liquidation preferences and other terms and conditions.
Finally they've done the scoundrel's topper-upper, usually used by VC's to set the immediately-pre-IPO valuation, going to accredited investors to sell a sliver:

"Uber Is Raising More Money From Rich People" (Al Gore and Snapchat do cameos)
This is a very bad sign.
Venture Capitalists will use the dumbest money they can find to get a late round to bump the valuation as high as they think they can get away with. More* after the jumps.
With that background, here's the latest from c|net:

China's Uber rival takes step toward global plunge
Didi Chuxing starts rolling out an English version of its ride-hailing app in China, as it eyes an international launch.
If you're visiting China but don't speak the language, you may be relieved to hear that you can hail a cab just as easily as the locals now.

Didi Chuxing, a China-based rival to Uber's ride-hailing service, on Monday rolled out an English version of its app in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The company said the feature will be introduced in other cities "progressively," though it gave no timeline. A spokesman said in an email that the schedule will depend on user feedback from the three cities.

Reports that the Chinese ride-hailing company was testing an English interface surfaced in February, following the company's announcement a week earlier of an international business unit. Last fall, Jean Liu, the company's president, had suggested that Didi Chuxing will expand beyond China's borders. In a statement Monday, Didi Chuxing said the English language update is a "crucial link in [its] broader global strategy."

After Didi Chuxing bought out Uber's China operations last year, it changed that app's interface from English to Chinese, leaving non-Mandarin speakers in a lurch.

The update will allow people from 11 countries outside of China to register on the app, including the US, UK and Australia. It will support payments from Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB and Diners. Real-time translation of texts exchanged between drivers and passengers is supported, and people can access customer support in English via email and phone....MORE
Sure, Didi is only using the English language app in China.
But combine that with "Dear Mr. Kalanick, "China's Didi Raises Over $5.5 Billion in Record Tech Funding"" and "Does Uber Go Bankrupt If Didi Chuxing Decides To Compete In the United States?" and things could get interesting.