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Business deals

Didi strengthens EV fleet with loans and charging

Ride-hailing unicorn forms service partnership with Chinese auto giant BAIC

Didi Chuxing's logo appears on a "new energy" car. Nearly 400,000 such autos are registered with Didi's ride-hailing app.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Didi Chuxing, which operates China's top ride-hailing platform, will offer services such as financing and charging to electric vehicle drivers through a joint venture with state-owned automaker BAIC.

Drivers who look to offer ride services with "new energy" vehicles including electric cars and plug-in hybrids can use a smartphone app to obtain a car loan or lease the automobile. The app also will connect users to charging and maintenance services.

Didi looks to get a head start on rivals in a new car-sharing service for electric vehicles. Nearly 400,000 new energy vehicles are registered with Didi's mainstay ride-hailing app.

For BAIC, which ranks alongside BYD as one of China's leading electric car makers, the partnership with Didi offers a chance to boost sales further. The automaker plans to end production and sales of gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles by 2025.

Didi owns a 67% stake in the venture -- named BAIC-Xiaoju New Energy Auto Technology, or JingJu -- while a BAIC unit owns 33%, the companies said last month.

Didi and BAIC announced a strategic partnership on shared-vehicle services last March. BAIC serves as part of an alliance of automakers that Didi debuted in April to expand its business network.

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