What happens when you combine the resources of two giants? You get a premium ride-hailing app ready to disrupt an industry.

In February 2018 Geely Group acquired a 9.7% stake of German Daimler AG, announcing it would explore possibilities of cooperation with the German luxury automaker. Sure enough, a year later in 2019, the two companies established their first two joint ventures: one would be for the development a new generation of Smart Cars; the other would be StarRides, a premium ride-hailing service with chauffeur-driven vehicles. This year the second of these two ventures, StarRides, is celebrating the successful launch of the platform in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Geely Group’s Headquarter city of Hangzhou.

While this venture is relatively young, both Geely and Daimler have both been heavily involved in the field of mobility services for some time – Geely have CaoCao, a ride-hailing app that recently reached the milestone of 2,000,000 daily service requests, and Daimler has YOUR NOW, an urban mobility solutions project between BMW and Daimler.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at Daimler Headquarters in Stuttgart, October 2018

Both companies continue to widen the portfolio of products and services they offer, moving towards becoming a mobility provider that offers a range of sophisticated mobility solutions that fit today’s zeitgeist.

With the economic growth of China has come an increase in citizens’ desires for a ‘premium’ way of life. In addition, over the past decade the number of domestic business trips taken has almost doubled – from 108 million trips in 2010 to 202 million trips last year – further signalling a need for a premium mobility service.

Playing to its strengths

Both Geely and Daimler each identified diverse strengths that they believed could, when combined together, be very advantageous when entering into the premium ride-hailing market. As described by one of the Board Members, “With Geely Technology Group, we have found an excellent partner to expand our mobility ecosystem in China.”

They were right. Today, StarRides’ most critical factors for success can be attributed to both parties: the complementary elements of Daimler’s premium service and Geely’s advanced technology, that when combined together offer something truly unique to customers.

With the slogan ‘The Best or Nothing’ Daimler has been constantly setting the benchmark for high-quality service and customer experience. This slogan is reflected in StarRides’ promise: ‘The Best in Motion’. It does this by offering the best in luxury vehicles paired with the best service available. StarRides’ fleet is made up exclusively of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. To ensure only the best service is offered, StarRides has established a highly selective chauffeur recruitment process, who are then continuously trained according to the highest Western service standards.

With its well-established ride-hailing app CaoCao, Geely has been able to bring in a level of technological experience that has been crucial to StarRides’ fast success. CaoCao has been able to contribute from its experience in online ride-hailing not only in regard to technology but also in regard to a partner network. With this, it only took StarRides six months to launch its services in multiple Chinese cities.

Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Chengdu

A recipe for success

Armed with these strengths, StarRides’ vision is to disrupt the premium ride-hailing segment. On the one hand, it aspires to establish a new standard for the industry by providing a first-class service on the road. On the other hand, StarRides aims at disrupting the chauffeur service market through digitalization. For example, if we look at the hotel industry, it is still largely based on owned assets and offline bookings for private cars. The same holds true for large corporations where executives rent a vehicle for periods of days or weeks when the actual amount of time they require use of the vehicle is a very small proportion of the time.

StarRides’ fleet is made up exclusively of Mercedes-Benz vehicles

With the help of the industry’s best technology, StarRides has developed an App and the supporting intelligent technologies that can guarantee driver availability, giving the impression there is a vehicle parked outside and at the ready. In this way, users of the service can be empowered into choosing their travel plans with accuracy, without the financial burden that other service providers may have.

With the backing of two giants StarRides has a strong start and is very confident with its ability moving forward, as its technological resources allow it to progress with any technological advances that will no-doubt occur, continuing to provide top tier service in a continually-evolving form.

“By using the strengths of the diverse partners Daimler and Geely, StarRides has been brought to life,” says CEO Tom Gu, “in 10 years from now, mobility will be very different to how it is today. StarRides will be shaping this future of mobility which will be booked through a mobile device, will be highly intelligent and provide a premium level of service that will make travelling safer and more convenient than ever before.”

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