As taxi-booking app Uber tries to tackle the Chinese market with carmaker Tesla, local equivalent service Kuaidi, backed by e-tailer giant Alibaba, holds its own by adding a lineup of luxury cars to its stable with a new app.
The phone app’s full name is Yihao Zhuanche (一号专车), which in English means “Prime Special Cars.” It is a new product rolled out by Hangzhou Kuaidi Technology Co., whose taxi-booking app Kuaidi Dache (快的打车) already has a sizeable following of over 100 million users, according to Bloomberg. Users can look forward to hailing a ride around in style in an Audi, Buick, BMW, and more.
Despite a bunch of car-booking apps available in China, Yihao will be the first luxury variant, according to Bloomberg. “We operate under a similar model as Uber does in China,” says Kuaidi CEO Dexter Lu to Bloomberg. Yihao will also offer free WiFi, phone charging, and water in its cars.
Kuaidi’s foray into luxury services with Yihao will be another step in which Alibaba locks head with Tencent, whose own taxi-booking app Didi Dache (嘀嘀打车) is Alibaba’s and Kuaidi’s main rival. According to Bloomberg, these services are actually auxiliaries to nudge users toward each company’s related services, such as payment methods and cinema bookings.