Daimler seals ride-hailing deal with China’s Geely

Germany: Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler said Wednesday it had signed a joint venture with Chinese carmaker Geely to offer a high-end car-hailing service in the country.

Based in Hangzhou, “the joint venture will provide ride-hailing mobility services in several Chinese cities using premium vehicles including but not limited to Mercedes-Benz vehicles” and Geely electric cars, the group said in a statement.

“Financial terms and the investment plans of the joint venture have not been disclosed at this stage,” added Stuttgart-based Daimler.

The two companies will enter the hotly-contested ride-hailing market in China, where top provider Didi Chuxing is used by hundreds of millions of people and muscled out Silicon Valley-based Uber in 2016.

Geely owner Li Shufu unexpectedly bought a near-10-percent stake in Daimler in February, surprising executives at the German carmaker.

He had previously taken control of Sweden’s Volvo Cars in 2010 and last December became the biggest shareholder in truckmaker AB Volvo.

Shufu’s appearance at Daimler was one of a number of high-profile Chinese investments in Europe in recent years that stoked fears about Beijing’s growing foothold in the continent’s economy.