South Korea's car-sharing startup SoCar drives into Malaysia
In 2015, SoCar raised US$18 million in funding, led by US investor Bain Capital
South Korea-based car-sharing startup SoCar on Wednesday said it would launch operations in Malaysia this month, its first overseas expansion.
SoCar plans to establish 120 zones with 240 automobiles in the Southeast Asian country. Members who sign up for the service can preview the cars available and the associated outlets on its mobile app and website.
According to the company, Malaysia has a high growth potential for the new industry as it is densely populated in the city centres. The company also plans to expand services into other parts of Southeast Asia.
Launched in 2012, SoCar is an eco-friendly car-sharing community that allows travellers to share cars with others who are traveling the same route. Its USP is that it allows users to rent cars by the hour, instead of by the day, with insurance coverage included.
SoCar currently has 8,200 cars in 3,200 zones throughout South Korea, with more than 3.4 million members.
In the car-sharing segment, SoCar will mainly compete with GoCar, a platform that allows users to rent cars by the hour or day using a mobile app. Similar to SoCar, GoCar also works on a membership basis, where all members are part of its car-sharing community. Users can book, unlock and access a car directly from their smartphone.
GoCar has operations in Kuala Lumpur, Mont Kiara, Bangsar, Cyberjaya, Petaling Jaya, KLIA and Langkawi.