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Chinese UBER — DiDi Taxi or simply the best hailing app to use in China

Coming to China for the first time you might get quite a shock of how drastically the Chinese Internet is different from the one you used to. The apps people use all over the world in daily life most probably will be blocked or unable to use in China.

Our manager is always there when travelling from market to market. But what if you want to go for a late dinner or want to see the night city by yourself?

Flash news that lightened up anyone’s mood is now DiDi allows linking your international debit or credit card to the app. Today we’re gonna reveal the secret (or not so much) of how to do it.

What’s DiDi anyway?

Everyone’s heard of UBER — an international company that became successful everywhere but in China. The app market in China is ultra-competitive, and UBER couldn’t handle it. After All, it’s sold all the assets to DiDi and left the Chinese market for good.

DiDi in China holds at least 80% of the all hailing app users and more than 1 million foreigners living in China have started to use it too.

How to use DiDi in China? How to switch DiDi to English? A complete guide on installing and using DiDi app.

This guide is made for people coming to China for tourism or business or just for newcomers.

Step 1 Download the DiDi taxi app for iPhone / Android

If you don’t speak Chinese, download and install the app before arriving in China. This way it will be in English by default, and you won’t have any problem registering the foreign phone number.

Links to download DiDi

Didi on Google play

Didi in AppStore

If you’re already in China, Google Play won’t work without a VPN. In this case, try downloading from their official website.

Step 2 Register your phone number

You need to register your phone number in the app.

After receiving SMS with an activation code, enter it to the app.  

If you’re already in China, buy local Chinese sim-card and use it to register in the app. To buy it prepare a passport and around 200 Chinese yuan.

Why do I need a Chinese sim-card?

Quite often, people can’t receive SMS from DiDi when registering a foreign sim-card in China.

Pros: relatively cheap data and possibility to get in touch with a driver. Don’t worry if you can’t speak Chinese, ask anyone for help: hotel employee, shopping mall security or a seller from a shop nearby. Chinese people are always happy to help a lost foreigner.

Step 3 Switching the language to English

If your app is already in English, skip this step.

  1. Press the person icon on the top left corner

DiDi registration step 1-1

  1. Click the settings button

DiDi registration step 1-2

  1. Click the language options (it’s usually second from the top)

DiDi registration step 1-3

  1. Choose «English»

DiDi registration step 1-4

  1. Click the Sign on the right top corner
  2. Click «Confirm»

DiDi registration step 1-56

Step 4 Choosing payment options

Choosing the payment option in DiDi, linking Visa/Mastercard debit/credit card.

  1. Click to the person icon on the top left corner.

DiDi registration step 2-1

  1. Click «My wallet»

DiDi registration step 2-2

  1. Click «Add Credit / Debit card»

DiDi registration step 2-3

  1. Enter card details

DiDi registration step 2-4

  1. Voilà! It’s linked and working.

Step 5 How to call a taxi via DiDi app?

There 4 main car options in DiDi:

  • Taxi — typical city taxi cab that is connected to the app. In our opinion (and we’ve lived in China a very long time), you should use it when out of other options. Taxis are all with a manual transmission, not always clean or comfortable.  

Prices: 2-3 RMB/km, but no less than 10-14 RMB for a ride.

The starting price depends on the city. The bigger the city the higher starting price.

  • Express — the cheapest and most convenient option: compact cars with mostly manual gear.

Prices: 3-4 RMB/km.

  • Premier — better cars (Camry, Teana etc.), they are always clean, drinking water is included in the price, the driver wears a white shirt and is very polite. Prices: 6-7 RMB/km.
  • Luxe — Audi, BMW, Mercedes cars with a personal driver.

Can be only preordered a couple of hours or days before.

Price depends on the request.

If you need a car for 5-6 people choose «Premier» type, then swipe left for a minivan and then click for calling a car.

Calling DiDi taxi step by step:

  1. Choose the location or enter the address for a pick-up point.

DiDi registration step 3-1

  1. Choose the destination address. It’s better to copy paste it in Chinese.

DiDi registration step 3-2

  1. Choose the taxi type.

DiDi registration step 3-3

  1. Choose «Safety Center» or click «Still request».

DiDi registration step 3-4

What’s the «Safety Center»? Your friend gets information about your ride such as the driver’s name, car plate number. If god forbid anything happens, the person you trust would know that you’ve called a taxi. As of now, this service works only with Chinese phone numbers and at night.

  1. Waiting for someone to pick up the order.
  2. See the information on the time of arrival and car details.
  3. Get into the car. The price of the ride will be automatically deducted from the linked bank account.

DiDi registration step 3-6

How to cancel the ride in DiDi taxi?

Click «Cancel» and then «Confirm».

DiDi registration step 4-1

DiDi app is a short waiting time and it’s included in every TOP apps to use in China lists. It’s absolute must-have, you won’t find hailing app cheaper for sure. May DiDi be with you!