Didi Chuxing has begun recruiting drivers in Colombia and Chile, company president Liu Qing revealed, adding that the ride-hailing giant now serves 20 million people and has a team of 1,200 people in the region, according to Sina Tech.
The move into Colombia and Chile follow reports in February that Didi was hiring managers in those countries, as well as Peru, and that it had relocated senior executives from China to lead the expansion in these markets.
It’s Didi’s latest push into Latin America following its acquisition of Brazilian startup 99 and launch in Mexico in Q1 2018.
It also brings Didi increasingly in contention with Uber, who has dominated the region since entering via Mexico in 2013.
A large population of over 650 million, combined with a rapid smartphone adoption—from an estimated 200 million users in 2017 to 63% of the region’s population by 2020—are two key factors that make Latin America an attractive opportunity for ride-hailing companies.
In June 2018, Uber counted over 36 million users in Latin America, with a network of over one million drivers.
Other major players in the region include Spain-based Cabify, which had around 13 million users last June, and EasyTaxi—who both share the same parent company Maxi Mobility—as well as Didi-owned 99, which leads in Brazil.