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Uber boosts driver pay in China as war with local rival revs up, report says

It can't sit still as Chinese competitor Didi Kuaidi makes bold moves. One way for Uber to get drivers' attention: Pay them big bonuses.


Uber has shaken up the transport industry in almost every country it rolls through, making enemies of taxi companies around the world in the process.

Right now, though, perhaps its fiercest competition is coming from Chinese ride-hailing rival Didi Kuaidi, with each company taking bold measures in its attempt to dominate.

Uber is hoping to score market share in China through serious financial incentives for drivers to ensure there's always enough supply to meet public transportation demand. The San Francisco-based company is offering massive bonuses to its Chinese motorists, in some cases 130 percent above standard fares, the Australian Financial Review reports.

For the time being, the popular e-hailer is paying drivers a 60 percent bonus on the fare money they earn over the weekend, 80 percent on money earned during the afternoon rush hour and 110 percent on their earnings between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., according to the publication. If a driver can amass over 50 bookings in a week, the bonus can grow to 130 percent.

Uber was not immediately available for comment.

Didi Kuaidi is staying in fighting form by teaming up with Uber's international competitors. On Sunday it announced it was investing in Ola, a taxi-hailing app in India, which followed its sinking $100 million (AU$142 million or ‎£65 million) in US-based Lyft earlier this month.

Uber, estimated to be worth $50 billion (AU$71 billion or £33 billion), also has just launched in Brussels its UberX service, which uses professional drivers, despite protests from Belgian cab drivers. An even greater backlash was experienced in France, with French taxi drivers trashing numerous Uber vehicles amid the turmoil, leading to the service being revoked in the region.

Cabbies are upset by what they say is unfair competition from Uber, whose drivers aren't subject to the same regulatory controls and don't require expensive taxi licenses. Those same frustrations have been voiced by taxi drivers in Australia, leading to 40 Uber workers in Victoria having their licenses suspended.

In Singapore, meanwhile, Uber faces stiff competition from local rival GrabTaxi, with the two companies exchanging promotional gimmicks to snare market share. Earlier this month, GrabTaxi had seven cruising through Singapore, giving free lifts to anyone lucky enough to encounter one -- nearly duplicating a tactic used by Uber in May. In July, Uber used drones to deliver ice cream.