A global mobility startup has its sights on China as the first market to adopt modular vehicles. And whether the general population even knows what modular cars are is not really an issue, as all the signs are there to show that it won’t be individuals buying the cars. Open Motors has already secured Chinese investment and is currently in talks with major Chinese manufacturers, and companies involved in passenger transport and logistics. Research suggests China could well be the most receptive market.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a fast-growing industry, expected to be worth $7 trillion worldwide by 2050 according to a report by Strategy Analytics and Intel. $3.7 trillion for passenger transport and $3.2 trillion for goods. But can an Italian-led company make enough headway in China? If so, will that be due to Open Motors’ technology or the state of the automobile industry in China? We spoke to the company’s founder and CEO, Tin Hang Liu, to find out why China is in the vanguard for modular cars–and what they actually are.

It’s a server, not a MacBook, according to Liu: “A Macbook is designed for ownership. A beautiful object. You can’t run the banking system on a MacBook Pro.”

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...