Baidu and car rental company Yidao Yongche yesterday announced that the two companies will jointly launch a business car rental service “Baidu VIP Car” The Chauffeur driven service will be supported by Baidu Map, with the first app to support the service soon to be released on the Android platform. Founded in 2010, Yidao is a leading car rental company in China. Its service currently covers 74 cities in China and also 3 cities in the US.
With China’s three largest internet platforms all having launched ventures within the car rental market, the space seems to have become a new battle field for China’s internet companies. In addition to Yidao Yongche, Ali-backed Kuaidi Taxi announced its business car rental service Kuaidi One, in July. Kuaidi’s major competitor, Tencent-backed Didi Taxi, is also developing a similar product, and expects to launch this new service in late August. In addition, Uber already covers 5 major cities in China.
We however are cautiously optimistic around monetization more broadly speaking, as the business segment has a proven monetization model as compared to the taxi-hailing market. Chinese Internet companies in my opinion are very ambitious and have based their business models on bringing services and products to cater to consumer needs though not as innovative as their American counterparts.