DiDi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company, has shut down its operations in South Africa just a year after it started operations.
DiDi established its local offices in April last year, starting with a pilot project in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape. Several weeks later, it established a presence in Cape Town, followed by the opening of its Gauteng business.
The Uber and Bolt competitor, backed by Softbank, operates in five continents across the globe. The South African expansion marked the e-hailing firm’s first presence in Africa and the 17th active country globally.
In an e-mail sent to ITWeb, the company confirmed it’s in the process of winding down its local operations, with today marking the last day of its mobile app availability in SA.
“Currently, we are operating in several cities in South Africa. However, due to our strategy adjustments; we regret to inform you that as of 8 April, the DiDi app will no longer be available in all areas of South Africa. The closure of business is part of our strategy adjustment from our managerial levels, though sad news for our loyal users,” notes the e-mail.
According to ITWeb, the exit from South Africa did not come as a surprise to many.
The company, which reportedly has over 500 million customers across the globe, couldn’t have launched at the worst time, setting up an office at the height of the pandemic, two months before the third wave hit SA in July.
It is now unclear what the strategy of DiDi for Africa is as the shut down of its South African operations raises a lot of unanswered questions. Analysts will be observing Egypt where it also operates. Will it close down its services in the North African country? Time will tell.