Chinese Auto Firms Launch Ridesharing Service

Three Chinese firms announced they have teamed up to launch a ridesharing platform.

FAW Group, Dongfeng Automobile and Chongqing Changan Automobile signed a cooperation agreement in December to launch T3 Mobile Travel Services.

“The three major car companies have joined forces to enter the field of shared travel, which provides an opportunity to transform traditional car enterprises,” a notice posted by Changan on its Wechat social media account said, according to Reuters.

The firms will work together to introduce partners from other industries to the service, as well as use the development of driverless cars to offer safer and more efficient travel services to all of its clients.

Currently, China’s rideshare market is dominated by Didi Chuxing, which late last year raised $4 billion, adding to the $13 billion from investors, including Alibaba, Tencent and Apple, among others.

The main focus of the latest funding will be expanding globally, further developing their electric vehicle initiative and investing more aggressively in artificial intelligence (AI) tech.

The latest infusion of funding boosted Didi’s value to $56 billion — up from $50 billion in April. The company has also invested in Uber rivals all over the world, including Lyft, Taxify, Careem and Ola in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and India respectively. The widely held belief is that physical expansion is soon to follow, but it is unknown what might be the first location.

In addition, Didi announced in April that it launched a food delivery service, running a pilot food delivery service in Wuxi. There are also plans to expand to other locations in the future.

Didi claims the service, which launched on April 1, has already captured one-third of the market.

For the five-year-old company, expanding into the food delivery service market is a logical step. Uber Eats expanded globally last year, while local competitors Ola, Grab and GO-JEK have already entered the space.