Many brands have chosen to offer bespoke products for the Chinese market: a limited edition Alexander McQueen scarf, a tiger jewelled Fararri or a skin cream that promises to lighten skin instead of the western creams which darken.

Well, now Uber has launched a new service tailored to the Chines market: “People’s Uber.”

This new People’s Uber program is more like carpooling than Uber’s other services in the capital – UberBlack and UberX. The company’s blog explains that Uber’s new China ridesharing service is run as a not-for-profit, meaning that Uber takes no commission from the rideshare drivers – as opposed to the usual business model on UberBlack and UberX. Riders only cover the driver’s costs, though the fees are set out by the app, not by individual drivers.

“Beijingers can help their neighbors, meet new friends, and discover new places along their regular commute – all on their own schedule, and without adding new vehicles on the road” the company said on their blog.


The post, written by Chiang, adds: For riders and drivers alike this means more transportation options, especially when they need it most: during rush hours, peak holiday periods, and other times when most people are on the road and many along the same routes. This could be a new resource for Beijing’s commuters to avoid the jam-packed subways – though Beijing’s road traffic is equally gnarly.

While in theory, more carpooling/ridesharing will lead to fewer cars on the road, carpooling hasn’t yet taken off in China in a big way. Many assume the scheme is just intended as a publicity stunt to introduce Beijingers to the app after its launch in the capital last month (it plans to expand to six other Chinese cities in the future including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzen).

Uber doesn’t have an identical service anywhere else in the world, though it’s close to the implementation of UberX and rival Lyft in the US. Chiang adds that People’s Uber is in a “testing phase” at present.

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