【英语中国】一嗨租车求解中国交通堵塞顽疾

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所属分类:双语中国

2010-8-31 19:51

小艾摘要: Like many Chinese citizens, Ray Zhang is worried about his country's parking issues, traffic snarls, pollution problems, and increasing demand on foreign oil imports.Zhang, who is the chief executive ...
Like many Chinese citizens, Ray Zhang is worried about his country's parking issues, traffic snarls, pollution problems, and increasing demand on foreign oil imports.

Zhang, who is the chief executive of Shanghai-based eHi Car Rental Co., thinks China's poor traffic situation can be ameliorated by promoting a car-sharing culture.

'China needs a car-sharing and resource-sharing option more than any other nation on earth, due to its population base, geographical size, and energy, environmental, and traffic concerns,' he said.

His company is poised to be at the forefront of this movement, raising a new $70 million investment led by Goldman Sachs Group. The company previously raised $95 million over three rounds of funding from venture capital firms CDH Ventures, Ignition Partners and Qiming Venture Partners, which all reinvested in the latest round.

Since its founding four years ago, eHi has grown into one of the largest domestic rental car companies in the country. It has 120 rental outlets in 34 cities and offers a chauffeur service in 70 cities, with a fleet of more than 4,000 cars.

Zhang said the new round would primarily be used to build out the company's fleet of rental cars, which will include a few hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles for markets in China that can support them.

'China's car rental industry is at its infancy,' said Zhang, and that the market for car rental companies was wide open.

As it is, this new funding for eHi is set against a backdrop of traffic problems. The capital of Beijing has added on average 1,900 cars per day to its roads in the first six months of the year, and the city already has some of the worst traffic in the world, according to a survey conducted by International Business Machines Corp.

Highlighting how bad the traffic situation in China's cities has become, on Monday, state media reported in China reported on a 62-mile (100-kilometer) traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway.

As China's consumers continue to buy cars in increasing numbers the problem is becoming more severe, according to Zhang. 'China cannot go on a U.S. auto consumption model,' he said. 'And eHi's mission is to help China avoid taking such a disastrous route…we promote this lifestyle and hope to raise the consciousness of China's consumers.'

In late December, eHi launched a car-sharing service in Beijing and Shanghai. It's similar to the Cambridge, Mass.-based Zipcar Inc., which is now preparing for an initial public offering in the U.S. that's being underwritten, in part, by Goldman Sachs.

The investment by Goldman Sachs also sets up eHi as a viable challenger to China's other domestic car rental giant, China Auto Rental Ltd.

That Beijing-based company recently raised a significant round from Legend Capital, a subsidiary of the Legend Group, which also owns the computer manufacturer Lenovo. One of China's most famous local investment firms, Legend reportedly invested approximately 1 billion yuan ($147 million) into China Auto Rental. Other investors in the company include the China fund of U.S. venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Zhang said that China Auto Rental isn't so much a competitor as a colleague in a market that's far too vast for any one company to dominate.

'It is our judgment that the largest car rental industry will be in China and therefore the largest car rental company will be in China in the future,' Zhang said. 'We think there will be a lot of new demands from consumers and corporations alike for our service [and] therefore we don't view that the China Auto and Legend deal is a threat to our growth and competition, rather we view it as a healthy oligopoly in the market.'

许多中国人一样,章瑞平担心中国的停车、交通堵塞、污染和对外国进口石油需求上升等问题。

作为一嗨租车的首席执行长,章瑞平认为中国糟糕的交通状况可以通过推广拼车文化而加以改进。一嗨租车总部位于上海。

他说,由于中国人口众多、地域辽阔,以及存在能源、环境和交通方面的问题,因此中国比世界上任何一个国家都更需要拼车和资源共享方案。

他的公司料将成为这方面的先驱,高盛集团(Goldman Sachs Group)牵头为其最新投资7,000万美元。一嗨此前通过三轮筹资已融资9,500万美元,投资的是风险投资公司鼎晖创业投资、启明创投和启明维创投资咨询,它们均在新一轮投资中再次出手。

成立四年以来,一嗨租车已成长为中国国内最大的汽车租赁公司之一,它在34个城市拥有120家租车店,在70个城市提供代驾服务,共有汽车超过4,000辆。

章瑞平说,新一轮融资资金将主要用于建设公司的租车车队,这些汽车中将包括少量用于中国市场的混合动力及插电式混合动力汽车。

章瑞平说,中国的租车业还处于初始阶段,面向汽车租赁企业的市场完全开放。

事实上,一嗨租车的新一轮融资发生在中国对抗交通问题的背景之下。根据IBM进行的调查,今年头六个月,北京每天新增1,900辆汽车,而且北京市已拥有全世界最糟糕的一些交通问题。

周一中国官方媒体报导,京藏高速公路出现长达100公里的交通堵塞,凸显了中国城市交通状况的糟糕程度。

章瑞平说,随着中国购买汽车的消费者人数不断增多,问题更加严重。他说,中国不能效仿美国的汽车消费模式,一嗨租车的使命就是帮助中国避免走这样的糟糕路线……我们改善人们的生活方式,并希望提高中国消费者的觉悟。

去年12月底,一嗨租车在北京和上海推出了拼车服务。这一服务模式与总部设在麻省的Zipcar Inc.有些相似,后者目前正准备在美国进行首次公开募股,高盛负责证券的部分承销。

高盛的投资也使一嗨成为中国国内汽车租赁巨头神州租车有限公司的挑战者。

总部位于北京的神州租车近期从联想投资筹得大笔资金。联想投资是联想集团的子公司,联想集团还拥有电脑制造企业联想。作为中国最有名的本土投资企业之一,联想投资此前宣布向神州租车投资约人民币10亿元(合1.47亿美元)。神州租车的其他投资者包括美国风险投资企业Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers旗下的中国基金。

章瑞平说,神州租车不是竞争对手,更像是同行,中国租车市场非常庞大,没有任何一家公司可以占垄断地位。

章瑞平说,根据我们的判断,最大的汽车租赁产业将出现在中国,因此最大的汽车租赁公司未来也将在中国产生。我们认为消费者和企业将对我们的服务有大量新需求,因此我们不认为联想投资对神州租车的投资对我们公司的成长是个威胁和竞争,我们更多地是将其视为市场中一种健康的寡头垄断形式。

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