More than two hundred million people in China now own a smartphone—the majority of them used in cities—and technology start-ups have been quick to develop new apps that meet the needs of the urban dweller. Because some of these new apps are inspired by apps developed for the Western market, localization requires creating a Chinese interface, integrating good local resource channels, and adapting to local customs. As bloggers on 36Kr.com, a Chinese-language technology blog, report, some recently developed mobility-related apps for the Chinese market include:
摇摇招车/Yaoyao Zhaoche (“Shake and Call a Taxi”) allows users to call a taxi with the simple gesture of shaking the phone. As private cars are not allowed to run commercial businesses in China, the app links up with car rental companies. The cost is about the same as a regular taxi.
同行/iTongXing (“Ride Together”) helps users to find suitable travel mates to share a taxi ride or a ride in a private car. The founder of Xing, Herock, has had long and boring rides in Beijing himself and “wished a comfortable-looking person could hitch a ride and chat with me on the way.”
嘟嘟快捷租车/Dudu Cars (“Dudu Express Car Rental”) enables users to browse nearby rental cars, and reserve their favorite brands on the phone or the Web site. The smartphone app unlocks the car.
租车达人 (“Car Rental Master”) works with car rental companies to provide real-time availability information, price comparisons, and online reservations. Users receives a monetary reward for renting a car through this app.