Chinese auto manufacturer Geely Holding Group is planning to enter the ride-hailing market with an ambitious upmarket rental service called ‘Caocao’.
The service will compete with both Uber and Didi Kuaidi, who have expanded extensively into the more pricey black car domain. Caocao will focus on rentals and ride-hailing, with a selection of add-on services.
In an interview with Reuters. Geely spokesperson Victor Yang said “we can provide driver, we can provide a translator, we can provide a body guard,” alluding to some of the potential add-on services.
Geely has officially established the subsidiary responsible for the new service. News of the Caocao was first reported by state media outlet Xinhua, though no information on the project’s funding was disclosed.
Competition in China’s ride hailing market has stiffened in 2012, with a series of coalitions forming. The year kicked off with a merger between Tencent-backed Didi and Alibaba’s Kuaidi, which went on to settle a $3 billion USD funding round over the summer.
Uber has consolidated its place in the market through a strategic partnership with Baidu. The U.S. based company confirmed a 1.2 billion USD funding round in September.
Geely is seeking to differentiate Caocao by catering to a high-end market. Other ride-hailing services have also attempted to avoid sharing turf with Didi Kuaidi and Uber. eDaijia, a designated driver app that provides chauffeur services, recently cut 20% of their staff in order to stay competitive as Didi launched a similar service.
eDaijia also entered a strategic partnership with similar chauffeur service UCAR, consolidating resources in the face of rising competition.
Technode reached out to Geely for comment on Wednesday evening and will update with any new information.