Chinese ride-hailing platform starts operations in Panama

Chinese ride-hailing platform DiDi Chuxing on Monday announced its launch of operations in Panama as part of its expansion plan in Latin America.

According to DiDi’s general director for Central America, Pablo Mondragon, Panama will be the company’s second Central American market, after Costa Rica, where it began operations in November.

The service will initially begin in the capital Panama City, offering users the option to pay in cash or with a credit card, Carolina Murillo, DiDi’s head of communications for Central America, said in an interview Monday with local RPC radio.

The option to pay in cash, an important feature in a region where many customers don’t qualify for credit card accounts, follows a Panamanian Supreme Court decision in December that struck down a ban on cash payments to app-powered transportation services.

Panama is a virgin market for DiDi, where American firm Uber and Spain’s Cabify have already operated.