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China's Didi launches car-sharing app with 12 automakers

Platform for new energy vehicles to also offer finance and insurance services

BEIJING -- Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing announced Wednesday a tie-up with major automakers from home and abroad to start a car-sharing app using new energy vehicles, including electric cars.

Didi said it has entered into an agreement with 12 automakers, including Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and South Korea's Kia Motors. Apart from the two foreign players, 10 local companies -- BAIC BJEV, BYD, Changan Automobile Group, Chery Automobile Group, Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle, First Auto Works, Geely Auto, Hawtai Motor, JAC Motor, and Zotye Auto -- also joined the partnership.

Didi said it "hopes to leverage on its artificial intelligence strengths and national network to empower the entire automotive industry chain," in a press release.

Under the agreement, DiDi will open its platform to automakers' own sharing services. The new platform will also introduce auto-related finance and insurance services. Didi will cooperate with other car-sharing services, rental companies, infrastructure operators and after-sales service providers.

This will "reduce cost and enhance efficiency for the entire industry chain by integrating resources from cars, capital, parking spaces, charging points and refueling stations, to auto maintenance and repair services in a new, open ecosystem of collaboration."

According to Chinese research company Analysys, the size of China's car sharing market reached 1.1 billion yuan ($176 million) in 2017 and is expected to grow to 8.4 billion yuan in 2020.

Didi also launched a bicycle-sharing business in January.

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