Uber lures clients with art in China

BEIJING. KAZINFORM - Offbeat initiative comes amid fierce competition in Beijing with ride hailing rival Didi Chuxing.

Be it car stations with artsy sculptures or an in-app lifestyle magazine, Uber Technologies Incis going all the way out to woo Chinese customers over, amid the fierce ride hailing competition in the country, China Daily reports.
The US car-on-demand service provider on Friday launched Uber ArtSTATION in Beijinginvolving an initial batch of car stations. The initiative is said by the company to be the first ofits kind in the world and aims to use creative ideas to connect its Chinese clients with some ofthe most beautiful things - art, fashion and design.
The total of eight car stations, each with a sculpture made by some of China's promisingmodern designers, are located at some of the most visited downtown areas in Beijing. Andthese are only a part of the wider effort Uber has made in China to provide value-addedservices.
"It is true that users pay a lot of attention to prices, but we've witnessed an increasing numberof diverse demands that are seeking high-quality experience," said Zhang Yanqi, Uber'sregional manager for North & West China.
Uber's new move comes soon after its biggest competitor in China - Didi Chuxing -announced in mid-May its latest financing of $1 billion, coming from US tech leader Apple Inc.The investment is expected to help Didi Chuxing consolidate its dominant position in China.
Wang Xiaofeng, an analyst at consultancy Forrester Inc, said the era of cash-burningcompetition in China's car-on-demand sector has come to an end.
"There will still be some cash subsidies offered by firms to secure users, but I think they havealready started to look inside themselves, and asked how they are going to improve userexperience and the quality of service rather than focusing on subsidies," she said.
According to Uber, which entered China about two years ago, it has also teamed up with anart gallery so that Beijing users can soon enjoy some artsy exhibitions inside the cars duringtheir rides.
Moreover, the San Francisco-based start-up will also bring an in-app service called UberLIFEto Beijing in early June.
The service, which has already launched in several other cities in China, is another innovationin China market.
"We've found that many of the users in China would spend another 90 seconds in our appafter they start their rides. So we think why not offer some local lifestyle guidance, such as themost popular local restaurants and the most interesting shows," said Zhang.

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