The US may be home to Uber, but another country is dominating the ride-sharing race

Yoko Wu instructs an Uber taxi driver en route to her office in Beijing, China, November 18, 2015. Yoko lives in the Beijing suburbs with her family and children. Uber has become her main way to beat traffic and get work done on the road.   REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon   PICTURE 27 OF 36 - SEARCH "EARTHPRINTS BEIJING" FOR ALL IMAGES - RTX1VXHN

In China, 51% of people are using mobile apps to hail rides. Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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For young, tech-savvy people in major cities, summoning an Uber has become a quick and easy way to get around.

But in many countries, the adoption rate of ride-hailing apps hasn’t been rising as fast as the market value of Uber and its rivals.

An online survey of 43,000 people across 52 countries found that less than 40% of people had used an app to hail, rent, or share a ride.

Image: Statista

Germany is considered a European tech hub but only 20% of the population is using ride hailing apps, according to the survey by Dalia Research.

Even in the US, home of Uber and rival firm Lyft, only 30% of the population aged 14-65 has ever used a personal mobility app. The same goes for the UK and Canada.

But in China, where ride-hailing companies only became legal in 2016, it’s a different story.

The survey found that more than half of respondents (51%) in China had used a personal mobility app.

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The rise of ride-sharing in China

Ride-hailing and sharing is becoming a mainstream form of transport for millions of commuters in China’s congested cities.

A ring road is congested with traffic in Beijing, China, in this November 18, 2015 file photo. Some global automakers are worried that China is pushing its weight around as the world's biggest car market - by enforcing its own, often outdated, vehicle certification standards on foreign cars. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files - RTX24ZJR
Image 3 Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing company, bought Uber’s China operation last year.

Backed by tech giants Apple and Tencent, Didi operates in around 400 Chinese cities and matches customers, or “riders”, going in the same direction. In October 2016 it pooled an average of 20 million rides a day.

But Didi and other ride-hailing services are facing regulatory challenges in China. Local governments in some cities are tightening the rules, setting restrictions on the kinds of cars that can be used and who can drive them.

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