Daim­ler-owned ser­vice provider to drive ahead with key ex­pan­sion plans

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WANG YING in Shanghai wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The car-shar­ing mar­ket in China is about to ex­pe­ri­ence ex­plo­sive growth in the com­ing three to five years and Car2go China Co Ltd — the Daim­ler-owned car-shar­ing busi­ness — is strate­gi­cally pre­pared to ride the mar­ket boom, its CEO said.

“Many or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­sti­tu­tions are ex­tremely pos­i­tive about the out­look for the shar­ing-car mar­ket in China. In­stead of pre­dict­ing fig­ures, I would like to say that shar­ing is a bet­ter choice for our fu­ture trans­porta­tion,” said CEO Chen Bing.

The pop­u­lar­ity of shared econ­omy, in­clud­ing bike shar­ing and room shar­ing, is snow­balling among young Chi­nese con­sumers in big cities. Car shar­ing — boast­ing higher flex­i­bil­ity, mo­bil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity — is a new promis­ing busi­ness model at­tract­ing car­mak­ers and re­lated play­ers, he said.

Flex­i­ble car hire could save con­sumers the trou­ble of get­ting a lim­ited li­cense plate in cities like Shanghai and Beijing, Chen said.

Since launch­ing its car­shar­ing ser­vices in Septem­ber 2015, Car2go China has de­ployed 1,000 ve­hi­cles in Beijing, Shanghai, Shen­zhen, Chongqing, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, with smart fortwo as the ma­jor car model, Chen added.

Daim­ler, the par­ent com­pany of Mercedes-Benz, now has more than 250,000 reg­is­tered users in China, whose dis­tance trav­eled to date has al­most reached 5 mil­lion kilo­me­ters.

Un­like other cities, Chongqing launched a free-float­ing ser­vice, dubbed Car2go, where cars can be picked and parked in al­most all the ma­jor down­town pub­lic park­ing spa­ces. In con­trast, other cities use the Car2Share mode, with users

num­ber of ve­hi­cles that Car2go China plans to add for rental this year

hav­ing to fetch from and re­turn cars to pre­de­ter­mined places.

“The dif­fer­ent mode is de­cided by the size of each city. In the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shen­zhen, if users are al­lowed to park and pick up cars wher­ever they want, the op­er­at­ing com­pany would face a short­age of park­ing spa­ces,” said Chen.

She added, how­ever, that there are about 70 lo­ca­tions in the three cities for ei­ther pick­ing up or park­ing shared ve­hi­cles.

Chen said Car2go China will make 4,000 ve­hi­cles avail­able for rental this year, while con­tin­u­ing to add more ve­hi­cles in the ex­ist­ing seven cities and ex­pand­ing park­ing and

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