Ten­cent rolls out taxi fare pay­ment app

Smart­phone ser­vice based on WeChat pro­vides com­pe­ti­tion for ri­val Alibaba

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By JIN HAIXING jin­haix­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent has launched an app that al­lows taxi pas­sen­gers in Bei­jing to pay fares via smart­phone, pro­vid­ing di­rect com­pe­ti­tion for a sim­i­lar ser­vice run by ri­val Alibaba.

The com­pany has teamed up with Didi Dache, a taxi-book­ing app and will make the mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice avail­able through WeChat, its text and voice mes­sag­ing app.

Li Hairu, a man­ager at Didi Dache, said the new ser­vice had been op­er­a­tional since Jan 4, adding that her com­pany’s app al­ready cov­ers 50,000 taxis in Bei­jing. Ac­cord­ing to Bei­jing’s traf­fic au­thor­ity, the city has 66,000 reg­is­tered taxis.

Didi Dache has more than 6 mil­lion users reg­is­tered as pas­sen­gers in Bei­jing who will be the main tar­geted users of the mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice for taxi fares, Li said.

From Fri­day, the com­pany planned to is­sue sub­si­dies to users who pay taxi fares via WeChat, with an es­ti­mated 10,000 trips likely to be free, Li said.

An em­ployee at Didi Dache, who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied, in­sisted the city gov­ern­ment had ap­proved the ser­vice, al­though au­thor­i­ties de­clined to com­ment when con­tacted by China Daily.

Ten­cent’s an­nounce­ment comes about a month af­ter Kuaidi Dache, another taxi-book­ing app, be­gan pro­mot­ing a ser­vice us­ing Ali­pay, a third-party Web pay­ment plat­form, among cab driv­ers in the cap­i­tal.

As of Thurs­day, more than 20,000 Bei­jing taxis had started to ac­cept fares via Ali­pay, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Daosheng, a man­ager at Ali­pay.

“From the com­ments of users posted online, we’ve found the pop­u­lar­ity of mo­bile pay­ment for fares is be­yond our ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

Cab driv­ers are given QR codes, he ex­plained, and all pas­sen­gers need do is scan the code, check the fare and agree at the end of a jour­ney.

In De­cem­ber, the fares for 50,000 taxi jour­neys were paid via Ali­pay in Bei­jing, Zhang said.

Wang Jian­sheng, a driver for Bei­jing Feifang Taxi Co, said the method is con­ve­nient for driv­ers and pas­sen­gers. He has signed up with Kuaidi Dache.

Few pas­sen­gers know about it, he said, but those picked up in the city’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict and around Fi­nan­cial Street are more likely to choose mo­bile pay­ment.

Since the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber, Wang said at least one per­son a day had used a smart­phone to pay.

Bei­jing tele­com ex­pert Xiang Ligang pre­dicted a bright fu­ture for mo­bile fare pay­ment ser­vices, as they can be eas­ily in­te­grated with the tax­i­book­ing apps.

How­ever, reg­u­lar taxi pas­sen­ger Lyu Luy­ing said the ser­vices show room for im­prove­ment.

“I’d like to see the QR code printed on the taxi re­ceipt,” she said. “Pas­sen­gers could scan the code on the way in and then con­firm the fare, then fin­ish the trans­ac­tion, which could save time.”

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