The time we have been dreading has finally come. Four months after China’s leading ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing announced that it was acquiring Uber China, app users have been forced to change over to the new, not foreigner-friendly version of the app.
Following a month-long transition period, on Sunday, Uber China was officially severed from Uber’s global services. Much like the internet, there is now an Uber for China, and an Uber for the rest of the world. The new China-made app, developed in cooperation with Didi, only works in China. Meanwhile, the global Uber app no longer does.
Though the app may look mostly the same as its previous edition, there are some big changes you might have noticed. First, in order to create a new account for Uber China, you have to have a Chinese mobile phone number and a valid Chinese payment method.
While this may only be a minor hassle for foreign residents in China. It means that the app is practically unusable for foreigners visiting China for a short time.
To make foreigners even less likely to download the app, Uber China has done away with its English-language interface. Didi has said that both a English interface and the ability to accept international cards is currently in the works, but hasn’t hinted at when those updates would be implemented.
The drastic changes were announced in October, and for the last month Uber China users have been urged to switch over to the new upgraded app. On Sunday, it became mandatory.
Obviously, the update shows how Didi is trying to distance its new acquisition from its former parent and incorporate it into its own business. It also shows how the company is focusing much more on domestic customers, rather than the comparatively small number of foreigners living in China.
What’s a laowai to do?
[Images via Boing Boing]
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