Didi Chuxing, China's largest car-on-demand service provider, officially launched an online car rental service on Monday, in the latest effort to build itself into a one-stop mobile transportation platform.
Didi said in a statement that the service is in response to "the boom in China's short-term and tourist car rental market as the population goes through a lifestyle revolution" and the company will operate the service through an asset-light model, meaning Didi will cooperate with existing leasing firms rather than investing heavily to buy cars for rental business.
The service called Didi Car Rental can be found within Didi Chuxing's application. According to the Beijing-based Didi, the new service can relieve users from the complicated process of renting cars from offline firms.
Once the user starts the vehicle-booking process two hours in advance, all the booking, payment and order modification can be done online before DiDi's staff drop off the car at the user's designated location for free, said the company.
Didi Car Rental has been in beta testing since July in Shanghai, and plans to expand to more tier-one and tier-two cities by the first half of 2017.
Before the car-rental service, Didi has offered various app-based transportation options, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, Hitch (social ride-sharing), Chauffeur and DiDi Bus.