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BMW to Launch a Ride-Hailing Service In China

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【Summary】German automaker BMW plans to launch ride-hailing service in China next month, becoming the first global automaker to obtain a license to pick up passengers in China, the fast-growing on-demand mobility market.

Eric Walz    Nov 21, 2018 10:39 AM PT
BMW to Launch a Ride-Hailing Service In China
author: Eric Walz   

BEIJING — German automaker BMW plans to launch ride-hailing service in China next month, becoming the first global automaker to obtain a license to pick up passengers in China, the fast-growing on-demand mobility market.

BMW announced that its subsidiary BMW Mobility Service Ltd, was granted a ride-hailing license in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in China's southwest, BMW said.

China's ride-hailing market is experiencing rapid growth and is worth around $23 billion, more than all other ride-hailing markets combined. China's Didi Chuxing is the biggest player, accounting for 90 percent of all bookings since taking over Uber's China business, consulting firm Bain & Co said to Reuters.

BMW already faces competition in China. Meituan Dache, the ride-hailing arm of Tencent-backed food delivery group Meituan Dianping, is expanding to compete with both food delivery service Eleme and Didi Chuxing. Meituan Dache expanded its new ride-hailing service to Shanghai in March, its second city after testing it for 11 months in Nanjing.

BMW's German rival Daimler said in October it was setting up a ride-hailing venture in China with Geely Group, the parent company of Swedish automaker Volvo.

In addition to becoming the first automaker to obtain a license to begin a ride-hailing service, BMW become the first foreign automaker to take a majority control of a China joint venture. In October, BMW said it would increase its stake in its 50/50 Chinese joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd to 75 percent from 50 percent.

China announced in April its was lifting the 50 percent cap that foreign automakers can own of local joint ventures, a rule in place since 1994.


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