Uber will come under pressure from yet another ride-hailing rival as China’s Didi prepares to launch in the UK in the coming weeks.
Didi is said to have secured its first licences in Manchester and Sheffield and is set to begin services as soon as this month, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The arrival of the Chinese behemoth will bring another player into the UK’s crowded ride-hailing market, with the likes of Ola, Bolt and Kapten already competing against Uber.
Didi’s arrival in the UK comes as it faces a growing backlash in its home country amid a clampdown by Beijig on some of China’s biggest tech companies.
The firm raised $4.4bn last month in the largest listing of a Chinese tech firm in the US since Alibaba in 2014.
But regulators pulled Didi from Chinese app stores just days later, citing national security concerns.
The crackdown sparked a plunge in the company’s shares, which are now trading well below the $14-per-share price set at its IPO.
Didi operates in 15 countries and has begun ramping up its operations in the UK, hiring staff in London and Manchester.
The company is likely to plot a move into the capital after its first two licences were granted in the north of England.
The expansion plans will pile additional pressure on Uber, which itself was driven out of China by Didi in 2016.
Uber is also facing mounting costs after it began classifying its drivers as workers rather than self-employed contractors following a lengthy Supreme Court battle.