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INVESTMENT: Didi Chuxing as one of the top disruptors
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Didi Chuxing as one of the top disruptors
By Morgan Brady

BT 201808 Investment 01我国GDP增长近年来一直保持稳定,人民生活水平也逐年提高。在各大城市中,汽车已经代替过去的自行车和摩托车成为了家家户户几乎必备的出行工具;随着中产阶级人群的扩大,买车成为了很多家庭的消费需求,这在一定程度上为共享汽车的出现提供了良好的土壤和基础。滴滴出行正是共享经济领域的巨头之一,在共享汽车业内几乎无人能敌。早在2016年,滴滴出行就获得了全球科技巨头苹果公司10亿美元的战略注资。

滴滴出行由程维和张博联合创立,它从价值80万元人民币的一家小公司一路发展成为目前估值560亿美元的行业巨头,且成功地在与优步的竞争中取得了胜利。滴滴出行为乘客提供多种出行服务,包括共享汽车、出租车、专车、豪华轿车等叫车服务。根据滴滴的统计数据显示,该应用在我国400多个城市拥有超过2.5亿注册用户,司机超过2100万名,每天总接客量超过3000万人次,这是其他共享汽车应用所不能望其项背的。目前滴滴正在自动驾驶领域进行研究和探索,且和北汽等汽车制造商建立了合作伙伴关系。

我们都知道滴滴是一个叫车软件应用,但是殊不知,滴滴还在减少交通拥堵和环保方面做出了巨大贡献:滴滴参与的置换信号灯项目帮助城市交通拥堵缓解了10%到20%,共享汽车的出现使大家用更少的车满足了更多人的出行需求,大大减少了对能源和资源的消耗,从而在一定程度上保护了环境。

滴滴打车的出现使得私家车的拥有量和销售量相对降低,因此很多汽车制造厂商也将目光转向了与滴滴合作:大众与滴滴共同出资成立了合资公司,虽然它不会涉及目前滴滴的现有业务,但会参与到滴滴的全球化布局和服务中来,进行网约车、自动驾驶和出租车运营等方面的合作。除了大众外,滴滴还和其他31家汽车制造商和零部件供应商达成了多项合作。

随着技术进步和人工智能的不断演进,交通系统正在发生着急剧的变化,这些公司巨头不仅可以在小范围内,甚至可以在全球范围内引起广泛的变革,提升交通运输效率,并对经济增长和环境污染治理产生积极影响。

BT 201808 Investment 02With recent growth rates in China at above 6% and at two-digit rate before, the middle class is rising and their consumption is increasing in the Chinese economy. One particular area of consumption that has been growing is the purchase of new cars and transportation means. Economic activity has increased disposable income as well as the need for efficient transportation methods. As a result, the ridesharing market in China has become very promising. In fact, the market has been so attractive that three out of the biggest five disruptor companies in China are ride hailing companies.
 

Didi Chuxing Rising In the Chinese Market

One company that has been able to leverage this growing market, especially with the slowdown in car sales, and the growing demand for ride sharing, is Didi Chuxing. The company is a key ally of Apple and has been able to surpass Uber in China. The company is number 4 on the list of top disruptor 50 companies in 2018.
 

Didi’s Valuation

The company was founded by Cheng Wei, who is the CEO, and Bo Zhang. Currently, it is valued at $56 billion according to PitchBook. It has received $29 billion in funding, and it leverages technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous vehicles to solve traffic jams in cities. It provides services such as public transportation, taxi, and limousine services.
 

User Statistics and Finances

According to Didi’s statistics, it has more than 250 million registered users and more than 21 million drivers in more than 400 cities in China, and a total of more than 30 million rides a day, which dwarfs the number of rides provided by other ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.
 

The company’s main backer is Softbank, a Japanese tech investment fund. And the company was discussing the launch of an IPO in the second half of 2018.
 

Artificial Intelligence Helping In Reducing Traffic Conditions

The company is attempting to leverage autonomous vehicles as one of its competitive advantages. To that end, it is currently forming partnerships with automotive manufacturers such as BAIC to help design self-driving vehicles. It has been doing tests in that area for quite some time as well.
 

Partnerships with Other Countries

Didi uses artificial intelligence to manage over 1300 traffic lights in 20 mainland cities in China such as Beijing, Jinan, Wuhan, and Guiyang. The system can manage to improve traffic conditions in entire neighborhoods.
 

The company aims to reduce traffic jams and has established a smart traffic unit. It is currently trying to export its knowhow to Brazil and Australia to address the issue of traffic jams there.
 

The Brazilian government is showing interest and cooperation. It requested Didi to help with the optimization of traffic lights. Similarly, the Australian authorities also asked the company to help make the traffic lights better to improve traffic. Didi will still have to build a fleet of cars in both locations before it can implement a fully operational traffic system.
 

Disruption to Carmakers

Companies like Didi and Uber, which offer transportation for all sorts of purposes without the need to own a vehicle, are proving to be a challenge for car makers, as they are causing for a decline in car purchases. Those automotive manufacturers are looking for ways to adapt. For example, Volkswagen has entered into talks with Didi to manage the Chinese company’s fleet, and co-develop self-driving cars in a joint venture.
 

The deal between the two companies is expected to be signed soon this year. And according to the agreement, the German car maker will manage about 100,000 cars of Didi’s fleet. Two thirds of those cars will be Volkswagen. The car maker will, of course, receive a portion of revenue in return, although the exact numbers have not been revealed.
 

For Didi, the joint venture will help it to develop self-driving cars and increase efficiency, given that most customers ride alone and do not need a 4-seat vehicle for their transportation needs. The challenge for Didi is the maintenance and parts replacements for those cars, in addition to their management.
 

But the partnership with Volkswagen is only one agreement in a bigger alliance for Didi which includes 31 automakers and parts suppliers.
 

Other carmakers have entered into agreements with ride hailing or autonomous driving companies. For example, automakers like Fiat, Jaguar Land Rover, and Honda Motor are currently in talks with Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving unit. Other companies like Volvo and Daimler AG also stated that they would provide cars to Uber.
 

Conclusion

The transportation ecosystem is changing thanks to technological companies and advances in AI. Those companies can induce wide change not only at a local scale but also at a global one. They can increase the efficiency of transportation systems, which can reflect positively on economic growth and pollution. Chinese companies like Didi Chuxing are able to compete with established rivals like Uber, among others, and are becoming acknowledged disruptors. They can attract investments quickly as well as interest from international governments. Thus, Tech companies like Didi Chuxing are now providing benefits not only to customers but also in policy implementation around the world, if not policy design.

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