The "Chinese Uber" Didi Chuxing pushes its information security by hiring experts in US

The "Chinese Uber" Didi Chuxing pushes its information security by hiring experts in US

    Oct 11, 2016 7:00 PM  PT
The "Chinese Uber" Didi Chuxing pushes its information security by hiring experts in US
author: Claire   

By Claire Pu

Didi Chuxing, the widely-used ride hailing app in China, is now determined to strengthen its information security by hiring more experts, and even opening its US-based research center. This comes after many driver and passenger fraud cases occurring in China. Didi wishes to consolidate the market and make the platform a cleaner and fairer one.

The recent hires includes two experts, Dr Fengmin Gong and Zheng Bu, who have years of experience in information security fields and once held key positions in FireEye and Palo Alto networks. Gong is titled Didi's new VP of information security strategy and vice president of the company's new U.S.-based Didi Research Institute. Bu will be based in China where he'll work directly with Gong as Didi's VP of information security operations. In that role, he'll manage the company's existing information security team in China.

"The Didi platform and service it provides and number of people and partners in touches, presents probably the most sophisticated customer use case," Gong explained to TechCrunch. "Bu and I have been working in security for traditional enterprise, this is the first opportunity that represents a good blend of enterprise and new-age internet-based sharing economy. Plus we were very impressed by Didi's ambition and ability to execute."

Didi, which received a $1 billion investment from Apple in May, had 83 percent of China's private-car hailing market before acquiring Uber's China business,and Uber China before being bought accounts for 7.8 percent and Yidao's 3.3 percent, according to Beijing-based consultancy CNIT Research.
Although having huge market and solid customer base, driver fraud and all other related problems are going like plague in Chinese ride-hailing market. According PCOnline's report, there are cases that a Didi driver would forcibly charge triple the price of a previously agreed fare when arriving, requiring the passenger to share the ride with other people, or the driver would refuse taking the customer at all. The driver even claimed that he was not afraid of complaints and fines because his account was totally fake and not even traceable.

Another usual scheme in the Chinese market is called click fraud. To be specific, drivers partner up with customers who book fake rides. Then the pair split the driver's payment, which is boosted by the large bonuses Didi gives to drivers. It's a system buoyed by the various incentives both companies have set up to establish business in China's still relatively-young ride-sharing market — namely, generous driver bonuses and free ride vouchers given to new sign-ups.

Uber has been more vulnerable to click fraud than Didi, largely because of its generous driver bonuses in China, which can reach up to three times the fare of a ride. Last year Uber said that fraud rides account for 10% of the whole bookings in China. However, experts estimate the percentage should be multiples higher. After Didi bought Uber China, it raised prices and cut some subsidies, how this impacted the business market is still unknown. Yet further hiring of talent in information security is, as noted, a recent trend of Didi Chuxing.

Resources from: TechCrunch, Motherboard