car2go: Pioneering Spirit in China

We all know Daimler has a long and successful history of over 130 years of automobile production.  China is known as one of the world’s earliest and oldest civilizations. Combining those two sounds very promising, don’t you think!?

And it is indeed. In 2017, Daimler sold more vehicles in China than in any other country in the world. Together with Daimler, we are a pioneer in carsharing in China. And it works – almost two years ago, carsharing pioneer car2go opened its first Asian location in Chongqing in southwestern China. The demand for the smart fortwo from car2go (combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km; power consumption weighted: 12.9 kWh/100 km*) is enormous. Thanks to unparalleled growth in the number of customers, after just one year Chongqing has become car2go’s largest location worldwide.

In general, the sharing economy is a big trend in China. This goes hand-in-hand with the development of the mobile internet and mobile payments in China. In 2016, 695 million people used the mobile internet in China, and over 469 million Chinese people now make regular payments with their mobile phones in all aspects of daily life. All of these elements contribute to the fast-growing sharing economy.

Fun fact: In Germany probably most of you know car2go. In China, the same mobility service is also called JiXing, which means “set off immediately”.

Sharing is caring

It is no secret that we have millions of cars in Chinese cities. Carsharing does not only help reduce this number, and therefore free up more parking spaces, it also helps the environment. Smog is a known problem in urban China. Although transportation might not be the most crucial reason for air pollution, it certainly is a factor.

Carsharing helps reduce CO2 emissions – especially when electric vehicles are used. Our aim with car2go China is that by providing users with services perfect for any occasion, more and more Chinese customers can choose alternate mobility solutions for their daily travels. In doing so we can further extend the possibility of sustainable urban development and ease urban traffic pressure.

Since 2013, when Car2Share was only an idea from Business Innovation China, I was part of the team that brought Car2Share. I am very proud that we have achieved a startup of something like this, and have actually grown it to the extent we have. On a personal level this has been my greatest career achievement to date.

Amy Chen has been with the consolidated car2go China since the start in 2013

In March 2017, car2go and Car2Share merged to form the consolidated car2go China Co., Ltd. With this move, Daimler is once again showing its commitment to expanding its car sharing services locally. It is an important milestone in our company’s mobility services in China, especially being the first premium car manufacturer to offer both free-floating and station-based car sharing here.

The fact and figures are even more convincing: with the portfolios of car2go and Car2Share, the consolidated car2go China has locations in a total of six Chinese cities. Car2Share currently operates about 70 fixed rental stations in Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, while car2go operates its free-floating concept service in Chongqing. Today we have a combined 400,000 customers who have completed over 14 million kilometers (8.6 million miles) of carsharing journeys – enough to go around the Earth 350 times.

“Do it with passion, or not at all.”

Of course this achievement was the result of the hard work of the whole team together.  With Leadership 2020, the moto I love most is, “Do it with passion, or not at all.” This is what has kept me motivated during both better and worse times. And it is passion that my colleagues and I share at car2go.

Openness is crucial to foster innovation. For us, this team spirit is also reflected in our work space. I myself work at an open desk to stay closely connected. Colorful decorations and an open space make it an easy and positive place to work.

Passion is also about having fun – you need to do something because you want to do it and not because you are forced to do it. As a leader I want people around me to enjoy working, therefore getting things done and feeling good about it. I really enjoy working at car2go China with lots of open-minded and innovative people. In weekly meetings, colleagues share their creative and interesting viewpoints to the group. Sometimes, their personal stories can also lead us to new perspectives on the current market.

smart fortwo electric drive (combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km; power consumption weighted: 12.9 kWh/100 km*)

We all are aware that the future will be connected and mobility services are developing fast. In China we want to further expand our locations and really leverage the technology we have for other services as well. We also know that the mobility market in China is developing fast and is increasingly competitive.

I am very excited for what comes next for me and my colleagues. What do you guys out there think? What mobility services do we need in the future?

* Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch“ neuer Personenkraftwagen entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

This article was written by Amy Chen. She is Chief Executive Officer at car2go China Co., Ltd.