MEXICO CITY/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Didi Chuxing, China’s ride-hailing behemoth, plans to expand into Mexico next year, intensifying its global rivalry with Uber, according to two sources familiar with the plans.
Didi has spoken before of global ambitions, but has not formally announced where or when it would expand. The Chinese company is the second-most highly valued, venture-backed private firm in the world, after Uber Technologies Inc.
Didi has no cars outside China, meaning Mexico could be its first international operation.
Didi, whose brand is ubiquitous in China but little-known in the West, will launch a smartphone app in Mexico and recruit local drivers to the platform, according to the sources, who declined to be named.
It is unclear which cities Didi will target, although one of the sources said the company was aiming to launch in the first quarter of next year. The company has already begun trying to recruit corporate talent in the sector, the source added.
A spokesman for Didi declined to comment on Thursday.
About a month ago, Didi met with ProMexico, a government trade and investment body, to discuss opportunities in the country, according to a Mexican official, who declined to provide further details about the conversations.
The company has made no secret of its desire to expand beyond China, particularly in light of the growing number of Chinese customers who travel overseas. In April, Didi raised $5.5 billion from investors,…