Business / Gadgets

Taxi-hailing apps hot in biting cold

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-02-10 16:30

NANCHANG - While sweeping snow has added to mounting difficulties of hiring taxis in cities across China, cab-hailing apps are helping ease the pressure for passengers who are stranded on roads.

In Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi province, many people used cab-hailing applications to hire cars, as available taxis were hard to find after snow jammed the city on Sunday.

Yan Jin, a Nanchang resident, said that the apps are quite efficient. "Once you press the button on your mobile phone, taxis come to get you."

Taxi drivers are also fans.

Zhong Wenbin, a taxi driver in Nanchang, said that the apps help drivers get more business thanks to subsidies of the companies that own the apps.

"I can make 100 yuan ($16.5) more each month," Zhong said happily.

Companies including Tencent and Alibaba have invested heavily in cab payment subsidies to promote their online payment services.

In January, Didi, a cab-hailing app with investment from Tencent, announced an incentive which encourages passengers to pay taxi fares via Tencent's WeChat, a multi-media app combining instant messaging, content sharing and payment services.

Under Didi's incentive, which was announced on Jan 10, a passenger and taxi driver each get a ten-yuan subsidy ($1.65) if the passenger chooses to pay via WeChat, a move intended to promote WeChat's payment service.

Didi's incentive is popular. According to the company, the number of bills paid via WeChat topped one million within the first seven days of the program, costing the company 20 million yuan in subsidies. Didi later added 200 million yuan to its subsidy program.

Alipay, the country's largest third-party online payment platform and a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, set up a similar program last month.

Statistics from Analysys International show that the transaction value via third-party payment in China totaled 334.3 billion yuan in the third quarter of 2013, soaring 173.1 percent from the previous quarter.


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