Uber & Didi

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Oct 25, 2016 00:10
Online car-hailing apps are becoming increasingly popular in many countries, including China, which has one of the highest rates of Internet penetration in general. Uber entered the Chinese market a couple years ago and there’s also a local version: “Didi.” Like many other American Internet companies, Uber was unable to compete against the local competitor; it ended up selling its Chinese business to Didi.

There are millions of instances of car-hailing and carpooling going on every day in China. In my opinion, these on-line services are good for Chinese society. Over the past few decades, car ownership has rocketed and the number of private cars has surpassed that of the US, becoming the largest in the world. These online car-sharing services can cut the already serious congestion and pollution. They also reduce parking by making full use of vehicles that may otherwise sit idle.

The services are becoming controversial since they have taken on the entrenched interests of the traditional taxi industry. In China, cab drivers have to turn over a big portion of their earnings to the regulators and pay heavy taxes. Therefore, there have been many cases of cab srikes recently. They are demanding lower taxes and regulation fees, and stricter regulations on online services. When I take a cab, I always hear drivers complain to me about their shrinking business. I've even met some drivers who turn off their taxi meters to avoid taxes and make private deals at cheaper prices to solicit more customers.

For a year, the government didn’t voice any opinion about this issue, and we were starting to believe that the officials had acquiesced to new prevailing conditions. It turned out that we were all wrong. Last month, some new regulations were announced in several big cities, such as Beijing, saying that only drivers with local citizenship are allowed to work in this new business, which is going to rule out migrant workers, who make up 95% of the existing working population, of these on-line services. What a pity!
在很多国家,网约车变得越来越流行。其中包括中国。可以说,中国已经是世界上互联网技术应用最广泛的国家之一。几年前,优步进入中国市场,同时中国也有自己的网约车版本- 滴滴。和很多美国互联网企业一样,优步水土不服,竞争不过本地公司滴滴,所以将中国业务出售给了滴滴。


网约车损害了传统出租车行业的利益,所以也成为一个争议话题。出租车司机每天需要上交很多份子钱给管理机构,还要纳重税。因此,出租车司机们纷纷罢工,要求政府减税,或者加强网约车管理。我坐出租车的时候,经常可以听到的(di)哥[cab drivers]们抱怨生意难做,甚至还碰到一些司机,干脆把计程器关闭,借以逃税,以便宜的价格招揽生意。