Interview: Uber’s Director of China Strategy dishes on the effect of the WeChat ban on Uber

Liu Zhen
Liu Zhen (Photo from Baidu Image)

Speaking at the Guangdong (International) E-commerce General Assembly on Thursday, Uber’s Director of China Strategy Liu Zhen sat down for an interview with Southern Metropolis Daily. Topics discussed span the blocking of Uber’s WeChat accounts, to choosing partners and future developments for Guangdong province.

Below is an excerpt from that interview.

What do you think of the blocking of Uber accounts on WeChat? Has this affected Uber?

Liu Zhen: If the development of one platform relies on another platform, I think this is a bit of a tragedy and it’s harder and harder to get users. Since Uber was first blocked on WeChat in April, we’ve given up this channel of communication. It’s not our only channel for passengers, drivers, and marketing promotions. Uber itself is also a very big platform. Competition on the mobile internet has turned white-hot. We realize the importance of opening up our API to make it a truly open ecosystem.

How do you choose your API partners?

Liu Zhen: We hope that from the vicious competition, Uber will disrupt the industry and bring about progress. Our API is open to all with no threshold for developers. We of course hope to have a volume of users, we’d even like third-party developers to enter Uber and provide benefits for new users.

How many cities does Uber plan to develop in Guangdong province?  What’s your criteria for choosing which cities to develop?

Liu Zhen: Our Southern District General Manager Luo Gang said we will develop 30 cities in Guangdong. The district general manager can decide which cities to enter. We hope to expand in a timely manner, not expanding too rapidly. It’s important to build a good foundation. In the past, there was much criteria for developing in new cities. But now it’s more complicated. It depends on talent, if we have the right people in a city then we’ll develop in that city. That’s because everyone now understands the idea of ride-hailing. Recently, we entered Ningbo in Zhejiang province and within a week, we received 30,000 ride-hailing requests.

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