by Rick Tetzeli
Originally published: May 16, 2016
Jean Liu has built Didi Chuxing at breathtaking speed. Here's how she did it.
One of Jean Liu’s first acts after becoming president of the Beijing-based taxi-hailing service Didi Dache in February 2015 was engineering the surprise merger with its biggest competitor, Kuaidi Dache, to create the formidable transportation service now known as Didi Chuxing. In less than a year and a half, she has increased head count from 700 people to 5,000 as the company adds bus and ride-sharing offerings. She’s also lined up partnerships with Grab (Singapore), Ola Cabs (India), and Lyft (the U.S.) to offer Didi passengers in-app booking with these services and raised $3 billion for further expansion—all while fending off Uber’s advance into China.
Fast Company: How have you managed so much change in such a short time?
Jean Liu: Our principle is that we send "old" people—people who have been with us for more than two years—to try new things. So when we start a new business line, we send people who are already familiar with our team culture. The communication cost is much lower, since that person knows the company well. He also has to have the charm to get a great team together.