A RIDE-HAILING company to rival Uber is looking to set up in Trafford as part of a possible UK expansion.

DiDi – Mandarin for ‘beep beep’ – submitted an application to Trafford Council for use of an office at Empress Business Centre on Chester Road last week.

It is also seeking a private hire vehicle operator licence.

The company is not operational in the UK for now, but the application suggests an expansion is imminent.

If successful, it will bring DiDi into direct competition with Uber, which arrived in Manchester in 2014.

Founded in China in 2012, DiDi soon overtook its rivals in the country, including a takeover of Uber China in 2016. It now operates across the world in countries like Australia, Canada, Mexico, Russia and South Africa.

Time Magazine dubbed it one of the 100 most influential companies in the world earlier this year.

The office it is applying to use is at Empress Business Centre, on the site of the old Empress Brewery.

One advert calls it a ‘high-quality, flexible workspace’.

It reads: “With its Victorian charm intact – vaulted ceilings, wrought iron staircases, pillars and exposed brickwork – the centre provides our customers with 24-hour access to a quirky and characterful workplace.”

DiDi does not intend to use the site as a booking office, nor does it intend to open it up to the public.

The company’s application to Trafford Council reads: “Our operating model is that of an app-based technology platform that connects drivers and passengers.”

“The purpose of the business premises is solely for internal employees, who will be using the business premises for admin and operational purposes,” it later adds.

DiDi expects the application be granted.

The Messenger has asked DiDi for comment.