China's Didi partners up with BP to build an electric vehicle-charging network

Key Points
  • Didi says it will form a joint venture with BP aimed at providing charging services to Didi and non-Didi car owners.
  • The aim is to scale up the charging network "significantly" in China after the joint venture with BP is established.
  • China is the world's largest market for electric cars, and is home to numerous start-ups looking to challenge Tesla.
Didi Chuxing's electric vehicle-charging technology.
Didi Chuxing

Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, has teamed up with BP to build electric vehicle-charging stations in China.

The company announced Thursday that it would form a joint venture with the British oil major aimed at providing charging services to both Didi and non-Didi car owners.

BP has already linked its first charging site in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou with Didi's open automobile solutions platform, Didi said in a statement. The Chinese firm pumped $1 billion into its auto services business, called XAS, last year.

The aim is to scale up the charging network "significantly" in China after the joint venture with BP is established, Didi said.

"We look forward to combining our strengths to create a robust EV charging network for China, promote the growth of the new energy automotive industry, and provide better experience for car owners across the country" Didi Chairman and CEO Cheng Wei said in a statement.

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China has swiftly become the world's largest market for electric cars, helped in no small part by subsidies to auto companies. And a number of start-ups, including Xpeng and WM Motors, have emerged that are aiming to challenge U.S. giant Tesla.

But the country's EV market has shown signs of slowing growth amid the U.S.-Sino trade war and a paring back of government support.

"The lessons we learn here will help us further expand BP's advanced mobility business worldwide, helping drive the energy transition and develop solutions for a low carbon world," Tufan Erginbilgic, BP's downstream chief, said in a statement.

Didi has made waves in China's ride-hailing scene, buying Uber's operations there in 2016, and the firm has been slowly expanding abroad into countries like Australia and Mexico.