In late 2020, major pharmaceutical companies were able to develop a COVID-19 vaccine finally. This year, countries around the world are preparing to vaccinate people against the deadly coronavirus, and for that plan to roll out, tech companies are rushing to demonstrate their participation to help fight the further spread of the virus.
DiDi's COVID-19 vaccine distribution
According to the company's statement, China's ride-hailing company, DiDi Chuxing, had pledged a $10 million global fund to support the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in 13 other countries, according to the statement released by the company on Jan. 22.
The multi-purpose fund will be used to reduce the fees for passengers going to vaccination appointments. It will also go to frontline healthcare workers who are traveling to vaccination locations. It will also sponsor future measures based on the market's local needs, according to DiDi. The company added that it will continue working with the respective governments.
However, it is still unclear how the company plans to allocate funds across different markets: Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic, Russia, Australia, and Japan.
The company spokesperson said that they will share more details about it locally as the vaccinations roll out and their local support plans are finalized.
Just like other tech firms, DiDi has responded fast to the COVID-19 outbreak by offering relief measures. The company said it had funded more than 6 million free and discounted rides and meals for frontline healthcare workers and distributed more than six million masks and sanitation kits to courier partners and drivers in its international markets.
In China, the company has made the same efforts. The efforts include financial assistance like insurance plans for drivers with confirmed cases or for those who are undergoing quarantine.
Jean Liu, the president of Didi, said that the vaccination support initiative is a crucial step in the local recovery effort around the world.
Liu stated that the incredible commitment and the agility of DiDi teams, as well as the safety system that was built for complex mobility scenarios, play a massive role in protecting the people and ensuring the essential services throughout these difficult times. She added that they will continue to stand by their partners and communities to get their cities moving once more.
To make sure that both the passenger and the driver are safe, DiDi had rolled out a mask detection technology in 2020 for in-car cameras across China and some of its overseas markets, according to DiDi Global.
The company is backed by SoftBank, and it took a hit when it temporarily suspended its carpooling service after two passenger accidents back in 2018, according to Reuters.
The startup remains as one of the most valuable private tech companies in China, and rumor has it that for a few years, it is planning an initial public offering, but the company outright denied it.
DiDi has garnered more than 550 million users across Latin America, Asia, and Russia by offering taxi hailing, private car-hailing, bikes, rideshare, buses, and even e-bikes, and it has over 10 billion passenger trips every year. It has more than 20 million users and 2.8 million couriers and drivers outside of China.
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Written by Sieeka Khan