[As of November 2016, after Uber's update, we can't seem to use Uber China anymore without a local credit or debit card. Maybe it'll allow foreign cards in future.]
Uber now seems to only work for me when I'm not using it in Singapore. The irony. My luck with its Singapore drivers is incredibly poor. Imagine three out of six drivers not knowing where the pick-up/drop-off point is at Orchard ION mall with a specific line of 'just before the taxi stand', and not understanding 'Esplanade cab stand in front of Toast Box facing Marina Square'.
When I last visited Beijing and Shanghai, there weren't any Uber-equivalents. The booking system for taxis isn't even reliable. What a difference three years makes. Uber China is now effectively Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行), retaining the Uber logo, app interface and user database. While the entire group initially had issues with their Uber app and verification codes even on their normal Singapore cellphone numbers, I oddly have no problems with mine or the credit card assigned to it. Merrily used Uber from the first day in Shenzhen.
We're usually out gallivanting in a group of six to eight. Wherever and whenever possible, I grab an Uber-XL or Uber-Black to fit us all. Definitely had to do that for Shenzhen because mine was the only working app. And if necessary, I'll take the rest in a cab. In Shanghai, when the friends finally resolved app verification issues, then we were more independent. Uber-XL can be tough to hail because of the distance we're traveling. We can get two cars ('People's Uber', they call it); all I have to do is to type out the addresses in Chinese and send it to the friends to copy and paste. Heh. Hanyu pinyin doesn't quite work.
(Luckily I didn't run into this sort of ghost drivers. What the crap.)
I generally refuse to drop pin for pick-ups. I key-in the addresses, followed by an SMS if necessary, and I do the same in China. I'm on data-roam and the app is locked to my Singapore number; which means the Chinese drivers are less inclined to call to check where I am. So I need to be very specific. There hasn't been an issue with pick-ups, not even in the heavy rain in small alleys. Only one driver canceled on me out of like...10 trips. Not too bad, considering that in Shanghai on trips heading back to the hotel, we're traveling an hour out of town. Most cabs don't want to drive us 'home'. Boo. Luckily Uber has worked fine for us in China. Well, for me, rather. Hahahaha.