General Motors has put in money into Chinese firm Yi Wei Xing. The latter is a car sharing tech provider and is behind the technology used by many rental companies operating in the field of car sharing. The investment is far more important than merely a car-maker investing into a startup, and actually serves to give us a look into GM’s probable future plans for the country.
As per a press release by GM,
The investment and strategic alliance will leverage Yi Wei Xing’s technical offering, and are in line with GM’s drive to explore new car-sharing models, gain insights into China’s rapidly changing car-sharing market and develop a deep understanding of Chinese consumers’ personal mobility needs.
The company is not even hiding its plans. Mark the particular emphasis laid upon Yi Wei Xing’s technical offering and GM’s drive to explore new sharing models. To a casual reader, it would appear as if General Motors was considering to make a push for the Chinese ride sharing market.
The market is certainly very lucrative and has seen startups grow into companies worth 10s of billions of dollars. However, expecting GM to go in now, with a model that follows the traditional path taken by Uber and Didi, might just be too much. After all, the Chinese ride-sharing market doesn’t really have much space for newcomers, in face of several well-entrenched startups.
It’s likely that General Motors is seeking to use that information in one of its ventures. The company has as many as 11 joint ventures and two wholly owned foreign enterprises in China. GM’s offerings include passenger cars and commercial vehicles, which are are sold under the Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jiefang and Wuling brands. As such, it is far from being a stranger to the market. However, car sharing in China is still pretty much uncharted territory.
What appears to be most likely, is that GM is looking to expand its Maven brand of car sharing to the country. In case you don’t remember, in January of this year, GM consolidated all of its car sharing ventures under a single, Maven brand that has been competing with the likes of Zipcar and others. In a bid to expand the same to China, the company may have decided to partner up with Yi Wei Xing, to gain a better understanding of the markets.
The notion was further reinforced by a statement from Julia Steyn, GM vice president of Urban Mobility Programs,
Every market has its unique requirements for car-sharing services. Yi Wei Xing has solid technologies and innovations that will help us explore more efficient and personalized mobility solutions for consumers in China.