China's Didi Chuxing to Spend $20M on Customer Service Following Rider Death

Didi has been criticized for lack of response to a complaint against the driver involved in the alleged rape and murder of its passenger.

Beijing, January 2011
Remko Tanis—Getty Images

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing will invest 140 million yuan ($20.5 million) in its customer-service operations following the alleged murder of a passenger by her driver, reports Reuters.

Last month, a Didi driver reportedly confessed to raping and killing a female passenger in the Chinese city of Wenzhou. The incident, the second of this kind this year, has brought increased scrutiny from both the public and Chinese regulators. Didi's customer-service team in particular was criticized for not acting on a complaint made against the driver a few days before the murder.

In an email to Reuters, Didi said an 8,000-person customer-service team would be set up by the end of the year. On Tuesday, the company announced improved safety changes, and said it would limit late-night service in mainland China Sept. 8-15 while the changes were implemented. Didi was also visited by an inspection team from China's Ministry of Transport. The team will also visit ride-hailing firms Shouqi and Tencent, according to an official statement.

This is the second alleged murder of a Didi passenger in China this year. In May, another female passenger was allegedly raped and killed by her driver. Both passengers were using Didi's Hitch carpooling service at the time of their deaths, rather than the company's standard ride-hailing service.

After the May murder, Didi suspended Hitch service and added safety features like facial recognition. The driver accused of the second murder passed a facial-recognition test, and had no criminal record, Didi has said. However, just two days prior, a complaint had been made against him by a passenger, who claimed the driver had taken them to a remote location, and then attempted to follow the passenger after they exited the car.

Didi once again suspended Hitch after the most recent murder. The company also fired its vice president for customer services, as well as Hitch's general manager.