WeChat users in Singapore can now book a taxi inside the messaging app thanks to a tie-up with EasyTaxi. It’s the first such move by WeChat outside of its native China. This taxi-booking function will be extended to other countries where both WeChat and EasyTaxi are available, according to a joint announcement today from both companies. To find and book a cab, a WeChat user must first search for the local EasyTaxi ‘official account’ in the messaging app. The EasyTaxi Singapore one is EasyTaxiSGP. Then after logging in to your EasyTaxi account, you can snag a ride inside WeChat in exactly the same way you would from within EasyTaxi’s own app. Online payments are not yet available, but support for epayments will be added in “in a few weeks’ time.”
We have already known for some time that WeChat is gradually evolving into much more than just a messaging service by offering a Facebook-like feed, games, as well as brand outreach via official accounts, but now it is stepping up its ante by providing services. WeChat users can now book a taxi directly within the app as it announced a partnership with Easy Taxi today, with a pilot program starting first in Singapore. The version of WeChat available in China (known as Weixin) offers far more features than WeChat and already has a taxi-booking function in place since January this year — which chalked up 21 million taxi rides in just over a month. All you need to do in Singapore now is follow Easy Taxi’s official WeChat account (EasyTaxiSGP) and click on ‘Call Taxi’ — which will then lead you to a request page. Currently, you still need to log in to your EasyTaxi account before you can book a taxi though. The two companies say that in a few weeks, Easy Taxi will be integrating its cashless payment feature on the WeChat platform, which would make the process a lot more convenient. Easy Taxi’s tie-up with WeChat comes as its competitor GrabTaxi has been making waves and rising in popularity throughout the Southeast Asia region. In line with the partnership, Easy Taxi is offering S$5 (US$4) off on taxi fares for bookings made through WeChat, while taxi drivers will also get an additional $1 for each successful booking till the end of this month.