Uber has announced the public release of the Uber API in China. The release comes after a 6 month test period with partner, Baidu. The Baidu integration granted Baidu Maps users access to Uber services. The test proved successful, and Uber now opens its API to developers across China. Uber anticipates that the API offering will enable developers to offer users "safe, reliable, and affordable rides from within their apps."
Uber undertook a number of steps to tailor its API strategy to the Chinese developer community. First, Uber drafted China-specific documentation. Further, to engage the Chinese audience, Uber formed a Chinese speaking Developer Relations team. Developers already familiar with Uber's API will notice China-specific changes that ensure the services operate soundly within China.
In addition to Baidu, Uber has named Qyer and Raven Tech as its initial launch partners. To complement its strong launch partners, and promote developer interest in the API, Uber will host its first hackathon in China. Those interested can sign up here. Once signed up, Uber will be in contact with more details on the hackathon itself.
The API release added to the buzz Uber had already stirred up in China this week. On Wednesday, Uber announced uberCOMMUTE in Chengdu, China - a service Uber describes as "carpooling at the press of a button." uberCOMMUTE represents the first product launch to begin outside of the United States; however, Chengdu stands as Uber's number one city in the world. Based on the success Uber has experienced in China, and the partnership Uber formed with the country's largest web search provider (Baidu), the API release seems a natural fit in Uber's evolution.