The license granted to BMW permits them to launch and operate a ride-hailing service in the provincial capital of Sichuan, Chengdu, a city of over 14 million inhabitants. Reportedly, the service will be completely owned by BMW’s mobility subsidiary and will launch already in December of 2018. BMW has said that this move marks a solid step forward in their laid-out strategy towards a mobility future marked by autonomous vehicles, electric powertrains, connectivity and a service-based perspective. It also almost certainly marks a coming rivalry with China’s current ride-hailing champion Didi-Chuxing.
While BMW launches its newest ride-hailing venture in China, a hometown rival, Daimler recently announced a 50/50 ride-hailing partnership with Geely aimed at offering luxury-brand cars to the Chinese market in several different cities. As foreign actors grab for the Chinese ride-hailing market, it may be advantageous to have an indigenous player on the team. The real challenge though, for BMW, Daimler, Geely or any other actors venturing into this area will be to take on reigning champion Didi at their home turf.
Another interesting aspect to keep an eye on with this coming brawl on the Chinese market is if it will affect the newly announced, still pending authority-approval, merger of BMW’s and Daimler’s mobility divisions back home in Germany .
Written by Darijan Jelica, RISE Viktoria.
1. 2018-11-25. China: BMW wins ride-hailing license.
2. 2018-11-26. BMW goes after share of Chinese ride-hailing.