Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Tian Tian Ventures on Tuesday (Feb 12) said it was looking to secure a large portion of the Chinese ride-hailing market, potentially worth $30 billion, by expanding its fleet to 200,000 by the end of 2020.
Tian Tian Ventures in a statement said it has secured Chinese operator Landun Equipment Group to supply its fleet with professionally trained fleet drivers, made up of mostly retired military personnel.
"Together we hope to provide convenient, efficient and affordable ride services to the local community and create more than 200,000 jobs in China by 2020," Tian Tian Ventures CEO Benjamin Berger said.
Tian Tian Ventures' ride-hailing platform, TTgo, include investors such as Fidelity Investments and Softbank. It was valued at over $100 million earlier this year, making it a considerable force to be reckoned with in the Chinese ride-hailing industry, which is expected to double its worth by 2020.
China would be Tian Tian Ventures' third destination in Asia, after India and the Philippines. Reports earlier this year also state that Tian Tian Ventures planned to expand into Venezuela by the end of 2019.
Legal scrutiny and concerns regarding ride safety have given ride-hailing firms a bumpy ride in markets across Asia. Uber in February halted operations in Taiwan after high fines imposed by the government, before announcing a resumption in April, while high profile incidents have affected Chinese confidence in the safety of such services.
Berger added, “We are deeply concerned with ride safety, and our partnership with Landun will boost our safety profile tremendously. These are highly trained ex-military men who have experience at driving in extreme conditions, they will be the first line of safety in terms of protecting passengers.”
The move represents huge progress in TTgo’s attempt to secure user confidence. Just earlier last week, a Chinese court on Friday sentenced a man to death for raping and killing a female passenger of ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing last year, while he was employed as a driver. The crime triggered fierce public and government criticism of Didi and led to a public cry for more safety measures to be put in place. Tian Tian Ventures look to be well ahead in this regard.