Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Whoa! "China ride-hailing giant Didi eyes purpose-built fleet as auto market shifts"

Who are the people?
Well, for one there's Didi's President, Jean Liu. As noted in April 2017's  Dear Mr. Kalanick, "China's Didi Raises Over $5.5 Billion in Record Tech Funding":
Didi's relentless approach is getting a bit scary but I do laugh when thinking of the company's President's thoughts on the biz:

I still can't get the picture of Didi Chuxing's President, Liu Qing (anglicized to Jean Liu), commenting on Travis Kalanick and Uber's efforts in China as cute. Then when Uber proclaimed the $3.5 billion investment from the Saudis she laughed and said she had more than that on the way. 
Didi then announced the completion of a $7.3 billion fundraising.
Uber better be on top of their game in Southeast Asia because they weren't in China and got run out of the country....
Well, we know how that turned out. Side-note: she was being treated for cancer at the same time she was kicking Kalanick's backside.
From Reuters:
BEIJING/DETROIT (Reuters) - China’s Didi Chuxing, already disrupting the global ride-hailing market and taking on U.S. rival Uber, has its sights set on an even bigger potential prize: designing and getting built its own dedicated fleet of Didi cars.

The firm has put together teams of automotive designers and engineers, and is now looking to work with established car makers to develop “purpose-built” vehicles, people close to the company told Reuters, a move that could shake up the auto market in China and beyond.

The move underscores how tech firms, from software makers for self-driving vehicles to car-sharing platforms, are disrupting traditional automakers such as Ford Motor and Nissan, amid major shifts towards electric cars and pay-per-use models.

In response, some global automakers are now starting to bill themselves as “mobility” companies that do more than just build and sell vehicles.

Didi officials say the disruptive change sweeping the industry means there is a clear mutual interest in new players like itself and traditional manufacturers working together to develop and improve ride-hailing and sharing platforms.

“Traditional automakers have different skillsets and understanding of the market, and those are all valuable to us,” Kevin Chen, general manager of Didi’s automotive service platform, told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s not like only we understand the customer. We are open to every form of cooperation.”
Didi is China’s biggest ride-hailing company, cementing its dominance when it bought out Uber’s operations in the country in 2016, and is preparing to launch car-sharing and other on-demand transport services.

It currently uses regular passenger cars, but says as it moves forward it sees a need for more dedicated “purpose-built” vehicles. Many would likely be electric vehicles, either all-electric battery cars or plug-in electric hybrids....MORE