Alongside with the difficulty of getting to drive on roads in China, the emerging trend of sharing economy also created new business opportunities and started changing the products provided by the private sector, in ways such as transporting people from A to B by ride-hailing or car-sharing. These mobility services offer people the choice of traveling to places affordably and comfortably on demand simply with a few clicks on mobile apps, without the burden of owning a vehicle themselves.
The Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) market worldwide is expected to reach a market capitalization of about 9.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2030. This immense growth is fueled by the growing ride-sharing, e-hailing, and carsharing service industries as well as bikesharing programs across the globe. Meanwhile, the market size of MaaS in China is forecasted to soar to over 200 billion U.S. dollars by 2025 and eventually tip over 650 billion by 2030. By 2050, the mobility demand in urban China is forecasted to surpass 650 million people times per day, among which almost one third of trips in urban China is expected to be conducted through shared mobility.
Currently, ride-hailing is the dominating segment among types of shared mobility services in the country. Didi chuxing, the Chinese version of Uber, started providing ride-hailing service since 2012 and eventually acquired the Uber Chinese subsidary in 2016. Didi has become the leading player in the market, having booked approximately 7.75 billion mobility transactions in 2020, despite the disruption on mobility demand by the global pandemic, though with a net loss of over ten billion yuan that year. With a better financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, Didi issued an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the New York Stock Exchange in June 2021 to raise more capital, although it was almost instantly hit by an investigation launched by Chinese authorities regarding data security, which led to the app of Didi being removed from the Chinese app stores.