Instead of scrolling through various apps to secure a ride during rush hour, people in China are using a single app that can help them hail different companies. flexiv chinese ai series meituanliaotechcrunch. The ride-hailing giant Didi is placing bets on this type of aggregation service along with other large internet companies. The nascent model is inspired by a feature added by Google Maps in early 2017 that enabled users to hail Uber, Gett Lyft, and Hailo via its navigation app itself.
AutoNavi, a maps app owned by Alibaba, is a recent debutant of a similar feature in China. Baidu, Meituan Hellobike, and Didi are some of the other big names in this genre that subsequently joined forces with third-party ride-booking services rather than building their own.
The ride-hailing industry in China is massive with around 330 million users. As a result, the government is imposing strict rules around vehicle and driver accreditation which has led a widescale shortage of drivers. Even well-known carmakers like BMW and state-owned Shouqi are joining the ride by offering premium rides with better-trained fleet drivers. However, the path isn’t easy for them as they have to face an uphill battle with Didi which has already gobbled up Uber China in 2016. With respect to other operators, the commission charged by Didi is higher, that is, 20%. This is because, the company handles driver management, customer support and other dirty works on behalf of the businesses.
The corralling of various ride-booking services has enabled the shortening of the wait time for end-users. Meituan has opened up wider user acquisition channels. The marketplaces for ride-hailing allow the end-users to request rides from any number of third-party services available. At the end of the trip, the payment is directly done through the aggregator. The intermediary commission of usually about 10%. However, the process of revenue division among the mobility partners has not been disclosed.