Uber threw in the towel in China earlier this week and sold its car-hailing operations there to rival Didi. Uber had spent years battling Didi for riders, highlighting just how important the ride-sharing market has become. The sale has helped make Didi become an important employer at a time when millions of Chinese workers face layoffs. CCTV's Owen Fairclough has more.
There are 14 million Didi drivers across China. Nearly a third of them are from provinces where so-called zombie factories and coal mines that have saddled the government with billions in debt are being shut down.This will lead to up to six million redundant workers. Didi says it's scooping them up.
Lin Kang, Government Relations Officer of Didi, said,"Didi's sharing economy offers a lot of job opportunities for workers that had lost their jobs in overcapacity industries. Low-threshold employment provides them with temporary jobs. The macroeconomy is in a growth trough, and Didi can offer a financial buffer for laid-off workers."
Miss Wang turned to Didi when the Shanghai trading company where she worked went bankrupt. She now earns up to 10,000 yuan - around fifteen hundred dollars - a month. Good earnings, but drivers are now suffering from a price war. Didi and Uber used bonuses and subsidies to lure employees, but are now phasing them out.
Miss Wang, Didi Driver, said,"My daily bonus dropped from 500 yuan to 350 yuan. And the weekly bonus for every 69 orders dropped from 500 yuan to 400 yuan. The rewards multiplier working morning peak hours was cut from 2.4 to 2 times, while in the evening, it's been cut from 2 to 1.6."
Didi is expanding quickly-aiming for up to 10 million drivers, serving 30 million passengers every day by 2018. For the government, this helps fill an unemployment void as it turns the economy away from loss-making state manufacturing to more competitive service providers such as Didi.