Can I use Uber in China? I hear this question quite often. No, you can not. But you can use Chinese Uber – DiDi instead! DiDi is a Chinese version for Uber, which gives  you many options for moving around.

How can I use Chinese Uber – DiDi if I do not speak Chinese?

I have to confess, sometimes it gets complicated, but you can cope with this challenge. Chinese DiDi application has English as an option.  You can find your location in English, then you get the directions, also in English. The information will be sent to your driver in Chinese.

There are several possibilities – a regular meter taxi, where you pay cash, a cheaper express private car, where you need a credit card linked to the app, and more expensive Luxe or Premier cars, which can also be payed with a credit card. I use my Chinese debit card, but I have heard that it is also possible to use an international credit card.

Using this application, you can book a car to meet you at the airport, to book a cab in advance or someone else.

Sound good? But try a test ride first! Remember, your driver does not speak English and can not read Latin numerals …

These Tips work  for me ( ok, I speak survival Chinese, but it is not enough:))

Once you’ve ordered a cab, send an English message to the driver (several message options are available in the app). Otherwise he might call you, which you definitely need to avoid. For example, you migh send,  “I am at the pickup point already, please come ASAP.” Don’t  worry; he will get the message in Chinese.
Sometimes drivers get lost and call you. Then you have to rely on local Chinese around you to speak to them. To avoid it, get as close as possible to the GPS pick up point. The app will help you with this. If you are in a hotel or a restaurant, ask someone who speaks English to help.

When you’re in the car, more or less you’ll be ok. Chinese Uber- Didi drivers rely on GPS and do not ask for directions. Usually…it’s best to be patient – Beijing is a big city, and many taxi drivers are not Beijingers.

I use Didi in Beijing, but in other cities I just hail a taxi. Prices are reasonable, the starting price in Beijing is 13 RMB (less than 2 euro) starting price in Beijing, and 14 RMB in Shanghai. This includes several kilometers.

Keep it in mind, you can rate the trip as well. Have a nice trip!