Car-hailing platform Shouqi launches HK-Shenzhen limo service

Costs start at US$113, for the 30km, 90-minute trip. Company also plans major international expansion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 11:03pm

Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur, the Chinese car-hailing platform, has announced an ambitious expansion plan into overseas destinations, as well as a shuttle limousine services between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, to cater for high-end customers.

The cost of a limousine between the southern cities starts at 758 yuan (US$113), which covers the basic 30km, 90-minute ride, according to a test on Shouqi’s mobile app by the South China Morning Post. Additional charges of 8 yuan per kilometer, and 3 yuan per minute, during normal business hours, will be incurred if rides exceed those 30km or 90 minutes.

With Hong Kong legislators far from friendly towards mobile car-hailing platforms, however, users are only able to place one-way or shuttle services on the Shouqi app in Shenzhen, with orders banned in Hong Kong, said Hu Xulei, its chief marketing officer.

About 200 dual-number-plated vehicles are set to be put into services after the debut of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen route, according to Hu, with another services between Macau and Zhuhai also to be launched soon.

The ride-hailing platform, backed by state-owned automobile enterprises Shouqi Group, is believed to be the second-largest player in China after Didi Chuxing, with the number of daily orders and monthly active users topping 500,000 and 3 million, respectively.

After launching operations across 48 Chinese cities, mostly first-tier, provincial and tourist-led sites, Shouqi is now eyeing overseas markets, too, with an initial hit list of 217 cities in 30 countries being drawn up, expanding ultimately to 1,500 cities in 130 countries, it claims.

The international plan is dependent on the fast growth of outbound tourists from China, as a survey conducted by the company showed that almost 85 per cent of Shouqi app’s users with plans to travel outside China within the next year, suggesting they would use its services in their destination if they could.

According to the latest 2016 figures, from China Tourism Academy in February, 122 million people travelled overseas from China, spending a total US$109.8 billion.

But unlike in mainland China, where Shouqi provides car-hailing services with both its self-owned cars and third-party vehicles, it will only serve as a mobile app platform provider within its ambitious international plans, while actual services will be provided by third-party companies.

Shouqi’s batch of initial partner firms for future expansion are Huizuche, a car rental start-up which provides services for outbound tourists, CCT, a major China tourism services provider, and Fliggy, the travel service platform previously known as Alitrip, which is owned by Alibaba. More are likely to be added, it said.

In February, the sector’s dominant player Didi Chuxing, has also announced plans to branch out overseas, with the target of becoming the world’s leading automotive network operator within the next five years.

[Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post]