Uber China’s rival Yidao CEO: The Sword of Damocles hangs over my head

Zhou Hang, CEO of Chinese ride-hailing company Yidao, spoke on Saturday at the 2016 NetEase Annual Economist Conference about his concern over the legalization of ride-hailing. He also mentioned that the company was developing a new generation of car insurance products.

On Thursday, China’s Ministry of Transportation and six other government ministries jointly issued bylaws on the ride-hailing industry, pulling Didi, Uber China, Yidao, and the rest of the ride-hailing industry from out of the legal grey area in which they used to operate.

“The legalization issue was like the Sword of Damocles. I couldn’t fall asleep night after night. Sometimes I even dreamed that I was thrown in jail for illegally operating,” said Zhou.

Back in the days when there was no legal grounding, Chinese authorities had cracked down on ride-hailing platforms repeatedly. Both Didi and Uber have been fined by local authorities in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai. Some of their drivers were detained.

Zhou HangYidao CEO Zhou Hang speaking at the Conference (Photo taken by Heather Wang)

Besides its ride-hailing business, Yidao is developing car insurance products based on big data. According to Zhou Hang, it’s like a pay-as-you-go Insurance. It is highly flexible, adjusting insurance rates based on the miles you drive, in extreme weather or other conditions. The safer your driving history is, the less Yidao car insurance will cost you.

“For example, it will send a reminder to car owners in extreme weather, informing them of the higher insurance rates required drive a car on these days,” said Zhou.

The reason behind Yidao’s insurance products strategy is the fierce competition in China’s ride-hailing market. In a market that led by ride-hailing behemoths Didi Kuaidi and Uber China, Yidao struggled to keep up.

According to a report by CNIT-Research in June 2015, Yidao Yongche ranked third with a 6.3% share of China’s ride-hailing market. Uber China and Didi, the two ride-hailing behemoths of China, saw their market share at 11.5% and 80.2% respectively.

Although dwarfed by Uber China and Didi, the driving data that Yidao has access to is considerable. As of June, Yidao claimed that it had over 2.3 million vehicles and over 2.7 million valid orders per day.

(Top photo from publicdomainpictures.net)

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