Didi Chuxing, the powerhouse ride-hailing service in China, has formed an alliance with 12 car makers to build an electric vehicle sharing network as it continues to expand alongside the country's booming economy. This major alliance will include the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Chinese auto manufacturers Geely Auto, BAIC and some third party providers, some of which will be owned by DiDi. The network aims to provide vehicles for short term rentals. "The goal is to provide a diversified and open channel where users can rent and return cars any time in an efficient way," said Jian Mingzhuo, Didi's spokesperson. The car-sharing business has been highly profitable and has attracted many different players into the market. Didi will go into direct competition with SAIC Motor and their Shanghai-based subsidiary EvCard which already operates in 60 cities.
Experts believe the car-sharing market in China has a potential value of US $287 billion. According to EvCard, daily rentals have been trended to grow from 8.16 million in 2015 to around 37 million this year. By 2020, China will have 355 million eligible drivers with only 195 million cars on the road. "Those who rent cars and who hail rides would be in different scenarios," said Jiang where asked if the new network would affect Didi's existing services. "There is always a gap between owning a car and traveling around in shared rides." "Didi knows users better with its massive data, and can bring add-on services like power charging for electric cars and insurance." Didi's foray into the car-sharing business is no surprise though. The company has revealed in December last year to make their entrance into the car-sharing services market with an investment of at least USD $159 million. And the previous month it had announced a joint venture to build an electric vehicle charging network across China.