China FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor Group and Changan Automobile Co. launched a ride-hailing joint venture to challenge market giant Didi Chuxing.
The three major state-owned automakers established the 9.8 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) ride-hailing partnership in March in the east China city of Nanjing with local online retailer Suning Corp. and domestic Internet giants Alibaba Group Holdings and Tencent Holdings.
The joint venture, known as T3 Chuxing (Chuxing means mobility in Chinese), will start operation in Nanjing and expand into five other major domestic cities -- Chongqing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Tianjin -- before year end, according to FAW.
The venture plans to make services available in most of the provincial capitals in China in 2020 and expand its fleet to 300,000 vehicles by the end of 2022 from 20,000 at the end of this year.
T3 Chuxing is the most ambitious ride-hailing project domestic Chinese carmakers have created.
China’s ride-hailing market is dominated by Beijing-headquartered Didi Chuxing, which acquired the Chinese business of its U.S. peer Uber in 2016.
In addition to FAW, Dongfeng and Changan, Chinese carmakers such as Geely Automobile Holdings, BAIC Motor Co. and SAIC Motor Corp. have deployed electrified vehicles as part of new ride-hailing services.
BMW Group launched a ride-hailing fleet with BMW 5-series sedans in the southwest China city of Chengdu in December while Daimler incorporated a ride-hailing venture with Geely in the east China city of Hangzhou in May.