Uber’s largest rival Didi Chuxing kicked off operations in Mexico this week, starting with the city of Toluca, the capital of the State of Mexico.
This is the first time Didi Chuxing has offered its ride-sharing service outside of Asia, and is likely the beginning of an expensive battle with its deeply established competitor — in Mexico, Uber has 7 million users across more than three dozen cities.
The move is part of a global expansion that the company hopes will offset increased competition from Chinese rival Meituan-Dianping, which joined the ride-sharing market recently.
Toluca, which sits around 40 miles (60 km) west of Mexico City, is reportedly the first part of the company’s expansion, with other cities expected to have the service by the end of 2018.
Didi has been leveraging talent in Mexico to help adapt its technologies for the local market, introducing new safety features to address security issues. The app’s new features include an emergency alert button that connects drivers and passengers to emergency contacts in the event of a dangerous situation, as well as a safety monitoring system and a sharable itinerary.
The company will not take any cuts of driver fares until June 17, when it will take just 20% — 5% less than Uber, according to Reuters.