Chinese mobile transportation platform DiDi Mobility is set to launch its ridesharing service DiDi Express in Newcastle on March 11.

This is the first city in NSW the ridesharing platform will operate in, bypassing Sydney. DiDi Express is currently operating in Melbourne and Geelong.

DiDi said Newcastle is an “ideal place to launch” in NSW and it is excited to serve over 600,000 people in the area stretching from Newcastle Airport to the bottom of Lake Macquarie.

A spokesperson for DiDi said they chose to launch in Newcastle as it is a regional commercial and cultural hub with a vibrant, young university population.

They said, “The city is increasingly digitally connected and very visionary in terms of its smart-city strategy. These merits made Newcastle an ideal choice for us to understand the local mobility needs of NSW.

“We believe that affordable, reliable and eco-friendly rideshare will help drive local growth and we look forward to taking the insights from the Newcastle launch and creating an excellent ridesharing service for users across NSW.”

DiDi believes providing competitive income to its driver community is crucial to fulfilling its commitment to local economic growth.

Douglas Toy, marketing manager for DiDi Australia said, “DiDi aims to provide Novocastrians with affordable rides so that they can make the most of Newcastle’s beaches, festivals and events.

“We are excited to start operating in Newcastle, our first city in NSW, where we aim to help Novocastrians spend less and live more.”

The Chinese company said it is dedicated to leveraging its expertise in AI to improve the efficiency of its platform, therefore aiming to increase its driver-partners’ potential earnings.

Along with the launch DiDi is providing a number of discount codes and promotions for those who sign up – both riders and drivers – to the app before the launch date.

Last November, DiDi launched a roaming service for its Greater China app users to use the Express app within Australia while travelling.

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