General Motors Co. has invested in Chinese car-sharing company Yi Wei Xing (Beijing) Technology Co., the latest foray by the U.S. auto giant into alternative transportation services.
Yi Wei Xing works with car-rental companies and allows customers to rent cars by the minute, hour or day through its smartphone app, Feezu. Established in 2014, the company operates in more than 40 Chinese cities.
“Every market has its unique requirements for car-sharing services,” said Julia Steyn, GM vice president of Urban Mobility Programs. “Yi Wei Xing has solid technologies and innovations that will help us explore more efficient and personalized mobility solutions for consumers in China.”
Spokeswomen at GM and Yi Wei Xing both declined to disclose the size of the investment.
Global auto makers are expanding into the car-sharing segment in response to fast-growing ride-hailing and car-sharing services offered by technology companies like Uber Technologies Inc. Auto executives are concerned that more consumers would rather borrow cars than own them.
GM’s investment in Yi Wei Xing follows the launch of Maven, which provides short-term car rentals, earlier this year and a $500 million investment in ride-hailing company Lyft Inc.
BMW AG runs a car-sharing service called DriveNow, which competes against rivals such as Daimler AG’s Car2Go. Ford Motor Co. in June unveiled plans for car-sharing projects in select cities in the U.S. and in London.
China’s rapidly growing car-sharing market has shown huge potential. Orders for car-hailing services totaled about 2 billion in 2015, with nearly three-fourths of that coming from Didi Chuxing Technology Co., according to market researcher ReportLinker. Didi Chuxing, created last year by a merger of two taxi-hailing providers backed by Chinese technology giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., bought Uber’s Chinese operations in August.
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