6 Apr 21

Shouqi, aiming to be the one-stop mobility partner in China

Only a few Chinese businesses have managed to become household names in the rest of the world. Here’s one to add to that relatively short list: Shouqi Car Rental & Leasing Co.,Ltd. Strong in China and recently allied with Western lease and rental players, it aims to be the indispensable mobility partner for foreign corporates in China, explains Lin Liu, project manager at Shouqi.

Shouqi Car Rental & Leasing Co.,Ltd manages more than 50,000 vehicles via 77 branches across all of China. It has not only a market-leading position in both segments but also an illustrious history, explains Mr Liu.

“We’re the subsidiary of Shouqi Group, a transportation company founded in 1951 and named by Zhou Enlai, then prime minister of China. Our particular subsidiary was founded in 1992 as the first company in China to provide professional car rental and leasing services.”

“Our main shareholder now is Beijing Tourism Group, a big conglomerate which is a wholly state-owned enterprise (SOE). This state backing means we are a strong and stable company.”

Indeed, Shouqi Car Rental & Leasing Co.,Ltd is one of the major players in China when it comes to both leasing and rental. It is this leading position which has made it an attractive partner for outside players.

  • In May 2020, the ALD-Wheels global alliance partnered with Shouqi to provide leasing and fleet management solutions in China. The partnership includes cross-referrals, common participations in global fleet tenders, comprehensive fleet services including fuel, insurance and accident management, and global fleet reporting via the platform.
  • And just a few days ago, Europcar renewed its strategic alliance with Shouqi, first signed in 2017, for the provision of rental services to international customers in China. Shouqi rental services in China can be booked via the Europcar portal.

Mr Liu, can you explain why foreign players are keen to partner with Shouqi Car Rental and Leasing Co.,Ltd?

“We provide a lot of services within Shouqi Group, for example we provide vehicles for their ridehailing and carsharing businesses. Shouqi Group also takes care of the transportation side of major international events, for example when a foreign president or prime minister visits China. So that is something we also have experience with. In other words, we have a strong capacity to provide high-quality service, also for official events, and we also want to provide this high level of service to our corporate clients.”

“Via our association with the ALD-Wheels Alliance, we can easily provide a variety of products and services for foreign corporates in China, from car rentals for short visits to short- or long-term leases. We can offer regular cars but also pickups and other production vehicles, and of course EVs. We also provide chauffeur services, for example from airport to meeting, and even shuttle buses to facilitate the daily commute of employees. Whatever the customer requires, we can deliver. We want to be their one-stop solution for corporate mobility in China.”

Like ALD, you also have a digital platform. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

“We call ours ‘Mr. Car’. Like ALD’s platform, it can be used for vehicle monitoring and management, and fleet managers can use it to access various digital solutions – for monitoring driver behaviour and fuel consumption, among other things – and to generate fleet reports. The platform comes with its own app and website.”

“We also have our own repair and maintenance ecosystem, because we believe that well-maintained vehicles provide value to our clients. They can even monitor their vehicles when they are in the repair shop, via a real-time video link to the shop floor.”

Your entire fleet is more than 50,000 vehicles. Of those, how many are lease vehicles?

“Our leased fleet is about 50,000 vehicles. These are long-term leases, from one year to anything up to three or four years, as the customer wants. This is full-service leasing, with things like maintenance and insurance included in a fixed budget, very similar to Europe close-end FSL. The customer only pays a fixed fee, either monthly or quarterly. We don’t yet do finance leasing initiatively, although we have a license for it It all depends on what our customers want.”

Do you plan to expand the number of your branches?

“We expect business to grow in the places where we have a presence already. So our focus is at present not on geographic expansion without intention, but more on growing the business with global corporations in these strategic locations. We are enriching our offerings like innovative and electrified mobility, support to clients in making the right decisions for their fleet and employees; some of the innovations of ALD and Wheels adapted to local market are central to our strategy, this includes monitoring of service quality and client satisfaction.”

One of your main customers is PingAn, a huge insurer who has its own leasing offer. Aren’t they your competitors?

“No, not really. One of their businesses is to lease to consumers as a financial tool. They don’t have yet the B2B angle that we have.”

What’s your company’s strategy for growth?

“Our main focus is on long-term leasing. In our current strategic plan, we forecast our business to increase almost threefold over the next five years.”

How does your partnership with ALD and Wheels Inc. work for international corporates who come to China?

“Let me start by explaining the reasoning behind the partnership. ALD and Wheels wanted a partner in China so they could offer high-quality services to their customers when in China. This, we can deliver. And for us, it’s interesting to partner with a global company in order to reach a new, strategically important type of client.”

“Now, if say a European company has a business request for China, they will ask ALD, and ALD will reach out to us. We will then provide the required solution, either by ourselves or in collaboration with ALD. The other part of the partnership is that we will respond together, as a global alliance, to global tenders.”

Where is leasing and fleet management going in China in the near future?

“Leasing is maturing fast. More and more companies are moving towards leasing, from ownership to usership. On top of that, we have the environmental trend: away from CO2 emission towards new-energy vehicles. Basically, the same trends that are happening globally.”

“Companies that are coming over to China and are looking for a mobility partner should therefore choose one that has the wide presence and deep experience to provide a one-stop solution, all over China. Like Shouqi.”

Image: Lin Liu, project manager, Shouqi

Authored by: Steven Schoefs