Yongche’s CEO, Zhou Hang, is the no-bullshit panelist I was telling you about last Friday. He explained that LBS should be used as service and not just as means for e-commerce. He piqued my curiosity, so I spoke with him to find out more about Yongche.com, which directly translates from Chinese into ‘use car.’
It turns that it’s actually an Uber clone.
I have no problem with that as it provides a solution to a real problem in China. Getting a cab in Beijing can be a real pain in the ass and there isn’t a number that you can call to book a taxi in advance. So Yongche’s service is very much welcome to anyone who is willing to pay for it. The price, as far as I can see, is at least three to five times more than the usual cab fare here.
The service is pretty localized too. Yongche allows Chinese users to book a vehicle in five ways: web, mobile app, call, SMS, or even through Sina Weibo, the popular microblog in China. The service offers 24-hour operation too. Yongche’s app looks pretty slick, as you can see in the picture below showing the cars that are available near your location.
As a foreigner in Beijing, I was told multiple times to avoid ‘heiche’ (or black car services). But Yongche makes black car service look professional.
Investors apparently feels that Yongche has great potential in China. It has secured “tens of millions” of US dollars in first-round funding in August of this year. Plus, our friends at Marbridge also just reported that Yongche has received another round of funding from Qualcomm’s investment arm.
Yongche has more than 60,000 registered users spanning across five cities in China — Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin — and also a pile of cash for Zhou to prove that this idea can be a viable business in China.