UPDATE (10:20am). DIDI will start operations in Costa Rica on Tuesday (Nov. 19).

Starting this week, Uber in Costa Rica will have a challenger. DiDi, the transportation app of Chinese origin, starts operating this week with some 5,000 driving partners serving the metropolitan areas of San José, Cartago, Alajuela, and Heredia.

“When we made the decision to expand to Central America, Costa Rica appeared as the first option to do so, and we hope in six months to have stabilized the operation,” said Felipe Contreras, director of corporate communications for DiDi. La Republica

During the launch, users can enter the ‘PURAVIDA’ code to enjoy discounts of up to 50%. In addition, it will offer a referral program, where users who recommend DiDi to friends and family will also receive discounts of up to 50%.

“I can’t tell you which day of the next (this) week we are going to launch the service, but the application will show a countdown before starting to operate. For its part, we come with a very aggressive media plan,” Felipe Contreras, director of corporate communications for DiDi, told La Republica last week.

The “DiDi Rider” application, that is now available for download in the App Store (for iPhone) and Google Play (for Android) digital stores, is equipped with multiple security tools, such as the ability to share your trips in real-time with trusted contacts.

As part of the safety guidelines, DiDi says its driver-partners go through a strict recruitment process; in Costa Rica they will begin to operate with 5,000 drivers.

A team of 35 people will attend the DiDi Costa Rica operation from its corporate offices in Santa Ana; Likewise, the company already has a general manager, Pablo Mondragón, who was the manager of the Mexico operation.

In 2018, DiDi’s platform had 550 million users and tens of millions of drivers. The company provides app-based transportation services, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing and bike sharing; on-demand delivery services; and automobile services, including sales, leasing, financing, maintenance, fleet operation, electric vehicle charging and co-development of vehicles with automakers.[

The platform, which has 14 different service options such as food delivery or electric scooter rental, is already present in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Mexico and now in Costa Rica.

DiDi Chuxing Technology Co., was founded in China in 2012, by Cheng Wei. Official website didiglobal.com.