Ride-hailing app T3, a Didi-challenger backed by Alibaba, Tencent, Suning, and three Chinese automakers, goes live

China’s clear market leader in ride-hailing faces new competition on the road.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

Although Didi Chuxing has long held the largest share in China’s ride-hailing market, there is no lack of companies that have an ambition to take their piece of the pie.

A new ride-hailing brand called T3 Chuxing was unveiled in Nanjing, the capital of East China’s Jiangsu province on Monday, according to the company’s WeChat account.

T3 Chuxing’s app went online on July 17 and started to operate in Nanjing one day later on a trial basis.

It has been luring first-time users with promotions that include winning free rides and free tickets to watch a football match with Inter Milan in the city. Suning, one of the backers of T3, is the majority owner of the club.

Nanjing Lingxing Technology Company Limited, the company that operates T3, is the result of a joint investment from Chinese tech majors Alibaba, Tencent, retailer Suning, and three Chinese carmakers, Shenzhen-listed Chongqing Changan Automobiles, Hong Kong-listed Dongfeng Motor Group and State-owned China FAW Group.

Besides an actual ride-hailing app, this alliance of companies, along with several others, also plans to invest in promising startups in the mobility sector, as reported by KrAsia in March. They formed a limited partnership with RMB 9.76 billion (USD 1.46 billion) called Nanjing Lingxing Equity Investment.

T3’s model is different from Didi Chuxing but is similar to OnTime, a new platform that went online in Guangzhou last month, both representing a new wave in ride-hailing that offer a more integrated approach with a professional fleet.

Didi recruits drivers who bring in their own cars to offer ride-hailing services, while OnTime and T3 only recruit drivers as they operate a fleet of standardized new energy vechicles provided by their investors. OneTime is backed by Guangzhou Automobile Group while T3 is underpinned by three automakers.

T3 plans to run a fleet of 20,000 vehicles and to expand its services to another five cities this year in China, which are Chongqing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Tianjin, according to 36Kr.

Innovation and competition in the mobile mobility sector will continue to flourish, said T3 CEO Chui Dayong at launch ceremony, according to T3’s WeChat account, adding that the “long-distance race” had just begun.

36Kr is KrAsia’s parent company.