(Yicai Global) April 26 -- Meituan Dache, the ride-hailing unit of Chinese lifestyle services platform Meituan Dianping, has started enabling customers in Shanghai and Nanjing to book other service providers' cars through its app.
The app now includes major providers such as Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur, Caocao Chuxing and Ucar's tailored taxi service, so users can access different types of car-hailing services, tech news outlet 36Kr reported today.
The Beijing-based company will pilot the service in more cities, Meituan Dache said, adding that it will partner licensed transportation firms. The new function aims to improve the user experience through technology, but won't involve huge subsidies. The move will also reduce operating costs and enable it to start promoting car-hailing services in more cities again.
When Meituan Dianping applied to list in Hong Kong last September its prospectus said the company did not expect to expand Meituan Dache. Integration with third-party providers suggests a change of mind, with a shift to so-called internet traffic business from directly operating a ride-hailing platform.
Meituan Dache officially unveiled its car-hailing service in Shanghai on March 21, 2018, a year after testing in Nanjing. Later, the firm named the cities it planned to expand into, including Beijing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Fuzhou and Wenzhou, and started recruiting drivers. But the plan never took off. Meituan Dache still just covers Nanjing and Shanghai.