Overseas chauffeur service Huiwan raises US$3 million in Pre-A Series financing
Overseas tourism Chinese-language chauffeur platform Huiwan received a RMB20 million in the Pre-A financing round from New Margin Ventures.
ChinaTravelNews – Overseas tourism Chinese-language chauffeur platform Huiwan received a funding of RMB20 million (approx: US$3.23 million) in the Pre-A financing round from New Margin Ventures and its own founding members.
Meeting the demand for Chinese-language car transport
Huiwan entered the overseas tourism market to meet the pressing demand for private transportation. Chinese independent travelers are reluctant to choose local transportation due to its limitations in itineraries and scheduling.
Although there are other transportation options like taxi or Uber type car services available to Chinese travelers, they still must overcome the language barrier with local drivers and the high cost for inter-city trips.
Huiwan CEO Yong Ge told ChinaTravelNews he sees demand for a platform offering better services in the future to meet the explosive growth in the overseas tourism market. He feels the time has come to introduce the “travel chauffeur” service to users accustomed to the booming chauffeur service in China.
Mr. Ge said Huiwan currently provides quality O2O service in only a third of its network in 60 countries. It leverages a consolidated system to make extremely fast booking and dispatch service in its main service areas are in Asia (Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Thailand), Europe, North America and Australia.
Mr. Ge said the driver and car resourcess for Huiwan’s platform are managed separately. It uses global car rental chains to supply its car pool and signs contracts with skilled locals to act as local guides and drivers to Chinese users. Huiwan effectively keeps costs down with this method and also adds value to its service.
Mr. Ge said every car will have Chinese-language service, meaning the vehicle and Chinese-speaking person are a bundled product. Huiwan will provide local Chinese or Chinese speakers to act as drivers and provide a translator if there are no Chinese-speaking drivers available.
For now Huiwan’s P2P charter vehicle platform faces a shortage in local resources and a lack of Chinese-speaking local car owners. Many destinations also have legal barriers barring drivers from also acting as tour guides.
Global service network
Mr. Ge said Huiwan plans to open 10 offices in popular destinations in the USA, Europe and SEA and expand its global coverage.
“We can only get a clear picture of local regulations and set up effective channels with partners after opening local offices. This will also help us provide better service and provide more car rental information than a regular website,” he said. (Translation by David)
(Report by Jianjun Yao)