With Uber continuing its push into China and a plethora of other options available to urban Chinese who like to arrange transportation through their mobile phones, how are Chinese consumers feeling about their services? Tencent Tech put that question to more than 12,000 of its readers, and the results are quite telling:
54% of respondents had never tried a high-end car rental app (like Uber), and 45% hadn’t tried any kind of mobile taxi app. Given that Tencent Tech’s readers are likely to be more tech-friendly and more urban and educated than a random sample of China’s population, these results suggest that taxi/car rental apps still have a long way to go in China. Of course, that also means there’s a ton of room for growth.
As the market expands, however, the apps do face potential pitfalls. The biggest may be regulation: private car services like Uber operate in a legal gray area in many parts of China. Some cities have already taken steps to regulate these services, but as they become more popular, broader regulations on the industry are likely.
(How enforceable those regulations will be is another story, of course. Unregistered ‘black taxis’ have been one of the options for urban transit in China for years despite the fact that they’re not legally permitted to operate).
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