Featured Image: Genheration
‘Twas only last year that international car service crackerjack Uber first touched bumpers with “fashion”. The service partnered up with Shanghai Fashion Week and had riders picked up by China’s extremely popular fashion blogger gogoboi.
With 4 million Sina Weibo (China’s very own take on Twitter) followers, the man can rightfully be called “influential”. Moving on. Fast forward one year, and Uber is taking its whole fashion-meets-art obsession one ring road further. For financial reasons.
Only one month ago, Whatsonweibo on April 29 reported how Uber was trying out a new set of rules which would result in a significant increase in its service cost. The move proved quite unpopular, with potential clients expressing their disgrunt on Weibo under the hashtag: “Would you still take Uber?”(#你还会用Uber打车吗#)
Nevertheless, the abovementioned was not the only hindrance to the mobile platform’s dwindling numbers; local competition, in the form of China’s very own and very dominant taxi-hailing smartphone application Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行), is stiff as steel. With a financial fender-bender around the corner, Uber went back to the drawing board. To come up with the following:
“Be it car stations with artsy sculptures or an in-app lifestyle magazine, Uber Technologies Inc. is going all the way out to woo Chinese customers over, amid the fierce ride hailing competition in the country,” China Daily reports on May 21. A grand total of eight such stations featuring sculptures produced by China’s most auspicious artists are located in some of Beijing’s busiest areas. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
“According to Uber, which entered China about two years ago, it has also teamed up with an art gallery so that Beijing users can soon enjoy some artsy exhibitions inside the cars during their rides. Moreover, the San Francisco-based start-up will also bring an in-app service called UberLIFE to Beijing in early June [of 2016],” China Daily concludes.
Fact is that China’s in-taxi Touchmedia screens already provide the morning commute with some simpatico (and at times spoof-like) Fashion&Lifestyle TV. The question remains how Uber’s bid to become a full-fledged on-the-go Beijing lifestyle, fashion and art guru will go down with Chinese customers. Uber going Ueber-trendy? I dare say its clients might prefer for their rides to be on time, not on fleek.