Chinese rideshare platform Didi will launch in Sydney on March 16. It began operating in Australia in May 2018 in Geelong, and has since been introduced to Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Perth, signing up more than two million people.

Didi offers three services in Australia: Express, Share (carpooling) and Max (seven-seater vehicles). The app will launch in Sydney with the Express and Max services.

Didi – China’s largest rideshare company – launched in 2012, and in 2016 it acquired Uber China for US$35 billion. The service now has more than 550 million riders around the world, including in Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong.

Riders who sign up before March 16 will get 50 per cent off every ride for the first four weeks after launch, and those who refer their friends will receive a $20 voucher. Didi claims to be up to 10 per cent cheaper than its competitors.

The company received criticism in China last year for a new “safety policy” banning women from using one of its services late at night. When it launched its low-cost Hitch service, it placed an 8pm curfew on women (men could use it until 11pm) in response to several sexual assaults and the murder of two women, reported the ABC. The company backed down from the decision shortly after.

The ride-share company announces it will launch in Australia’s largest city as the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal releases survey results that found growth in ride-share use appears to be levelling off. It found rideshare uptake grew by three per cent in its latest survey, compared to 12 per cent in the previous year. The sector had seen double-digit growth for much of the last decade.

Didi will launch in Sydney on March 16.