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Chinese car rental service provider Yongche, commonly known as Yidao Yongche, and Haier Financial Services, the financial arm of Chinese consumer electronics maker Haier Group, today announced the establishment of Haier Yidao Travel (our translation), a joint venture delivering car rental services, car financial leasing, and more.

Under the deal, the two companies will each hold 50% in the joint venture, with Haier Financial offering financing resources and Yongche providing operational support.

With an investment claimed to be RMB8 billion (around US$1.28 billion) by 2017, Beijing-based Haier Yidao Travel expects to then be operating 80,000 to 100,000 cars. Yongche’s founder Zhou Hang noted that the company’s current car fleets will be gradually integrated into the new platform.

In September last year, Yongche and Haier established Haier Yidao Auto Financial Services, a joint venture providing financial leasing services to car rental firms on Yongche’s online platform.

Moreover, Yongche has now released test-drive services for Tesla and Volvo, with more car brands are expected to be included. The startup also rolled out designated driving services.

Founded in 2010, Yongche was one of the first Uber-style car rental services in China, and now operates in more than 80 domestic cities and in 24 cities overseas. After landing US$1 million angel investment in 2010, the startup has since secured three rounds of financing: from Morningside Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures in 2011, US$20 million series B round of financing led by CBC Capital, and an undisclosed amount of Series C funding last year.

image credit: Yongche

 

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)