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BMW goes after share of Chinese ride-hailing

BMW goes after share of Chinese ride-hailing

BMW AG is revving up to enter China’s sizable ride-hailing market in December amid a growing trend of traditional carmakers opting for diversified revenue streams.

The German carmaker said late on Wednesday that it has won a permit to conduct the business in Chengdu, Sichuan province, making it the first foreign company to receive such authorisation in the city, with the service to become available next month.

The service provider will be its wholly owned subsidiary, BMW Mobility Service Ltd, which was registered in Chengdu in April with a registered capital of 50 million yuan ($7.2 million).

The automaker did not reveal details including the number of vehicles in its fleet and its target customers, but it said more information will be released in December.

Going into the ride-hailing market in China marks a solid step in implementing the new strategy that focuses on auto-nomous driving vehicles, electric vehicles, connectivity and services, said the German carmaker.

BMW is one of the latest carmakers planning to enter the sizable ride-hailing market, as mobility is expected to generate more revenue and profit than car manufacturing down the road.

Strategy&, a consulting firm under PwC, said in a report in October that by 2030, mobility services will likely account for 30 per cent of the global automotive industry’s profits, compared with 26 per cent of profits from new car sales.

In China, on-demand mobility services, including ride-hailing, were worth $15 billion last year.

The number is expected to grow by 33 per cent annually to $201 billion in 2025, and $656 billion in 2030, according to the report.

BMW’s move also comes amid mounting competition in China’s ride-hailing market.

Leading player Didi Chuxing has been rectifying safety loopholes and problems after a number of accidents and criminal incidents.

Carmakers are starting to adapt to and take advantage of the change. Earlier this year, US carmaker Ford signed a deal with its Chinese partner Zotye to build a joint venture that is dedicated to providing customised electric vehicles to fleet operators and drivers. CHINA DAILY

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