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Didi Uber deal: Unhappy drivers shared concerns over market monopoly

Reporter: Laura Luo 丨 CCTV.com

08-03-2016 00:58 BJT

Ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has bought its major rival Uber's China operation, after a long cash-burning competition to win over the Chinese market. Now with the merger underway, drivers from both sides have started worrying about a possible scaling-back of subsidies.

Just days after China legalised online ride-hailing services, DiDi and Uber announced their merger.

Taxi drivers like Gao Fujun are the first ones to feel the pinch. They used to be on the top of the industry food chain, but have seen business decrease ever since the emergence of ride-hailing apps.

"I used to have about 20 transactions each day, ever since these ride-hailing apps came out, I only have about 15 businesses daily, even if I use Didi Chuxing," Gao said.

He thinks Didi's acquisition of Uber China won't help reduce competition among different types of drivers in this market.

"Our working hours are longer now, but our income is not as high as before. The merger of the two apps won't benefit us, and pressure from competition is always there," he said.

However, the deal does seem to eliminate cut-throat competition between Didi and Uber China. Didi reportedly made a 2-billion-dollar loss last year, while Uber saw its profit 1 billion dollars in the red.

Driving a Uber car used to be profitable business for part-time drivers aiming to make some quick cash. But now the good times are feared to be over with the rise of a newly created market giant.

"Do you still see BMWs and Mercedes when you order Uber cars? They don't want to do it anymore, because subsidies are too low. You will only see cars valued under 200 thousand yuan, more expensive cars won't use Uber anymore because you don't make profit," said a Uber driver in Beijing.

Beijing's Uber drivers are widely concerned about shrinking subsidies under a dominating single player.

"Why did they burn so much money to compete with other firms? Because Didi wants to become a monopoly. Look at all those smaller firms we had before, they are already driven out of market," said the Uber driver in Beijing.

So would the Didi Uber deal trigger market monopoly concern?

"I don't think we should worry about monopoly, as we've seen plenty of mega-size deals before Youku Tudou, Didi Kuaidi. They were never challenged for monopoly issues. It's unique about the Chinese market," said Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst from Forrester.

However, according to business media Caixin, the merger could still face government's anti-monopoly scrutiny, as market shares of Didi and Uber already account for 70 percent and 17 percent respectively.

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