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P2P car-rental platform zooms into Shanghai

2014-07-23 09:35 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan
PP Zuche claims it’s Asia’s largest private car renting platform and people can save 30 percent of the market price at a physical car-renting company. — Huang Yihuan/Shanghai Daily

PP Zuche claims it's Asia's largest private car renting platform and people can save 30 percent of the market price at a physical car-renting company. — Huang Yihuan/Shanghai Daily

A new car-renting mode is gaining popularity in Shanghai. Last month PP Zuche (Car Rent), a P2P car-sharing platform, which has already rolled out service in Singapore, landed in Shanghai after hitting Beijing last August.

It provides an online platform for car owners to list their vehicles and rent them out to nearby drivers who need a car, turning private car ownership into a money-making opportunity. The scheme cuts all the paperwork car owners and renters must deal with at a brick-and-mortar car-rental company. People can easily rent a car via the website or an app installed on a smartphone.

Nicolas Wan, 32, was in bad need of a car because his black Mazda 6 was being repaired. His friends recommended PP Zuche, where Wan made his order and rented a black Volkswagen Passat for 180 yuan (US$29) a day. The car was also available for 22 yuan an hour or 1,080 yuan a week.

The Passat, as listed on the website, is three years old with a Shanghai plate and an odometer reading of 50,000 kilometers. "It would cost me around 650 yuan a day if I went to a car-rental company," Wan says.

To rent a car on PP Zuche was straightforward. Wan first registered as a member of the website. He then uploaded photos of his ID card and driver's license to the website, which would examine and verify the certificates within three working hours. Wan was also required to pay a 1,500-yuan deposit in case of accident or traffic rules violations before he got the contact number of the car owner.

Looking through the pages of the smartphone app, it's apparent that one can easily get key information about cars for rent, including the car's age, kilometer reading, hourly/daily/weekly rate, passenger number and other data. Using the phone's GPS, a renter can choose the nearest available car.

The company claims the service easily beats traditional car-rental companies because of its quality, price and simplicity. It says the cost is cheaper and the procedure is less cumbersome than with brick-and-mortar firms.

It says people can rent a car for 30 percent less than with a car-rental company, and a private-car owner can earn more than 3,000 yuan a month by renting out his car.

PP Zuche will take a 30-percent cut of the rental fee, while car owners get the remaining 70 percent. A car owner who wants to list his car for rent must upload photos of the car with the plate, his ID card and the vehicle's driving permit.

He also needs to pay 500 yuan for a vehicle-mounted GPS tracking device, which keeps track of the car's route and position and lets the owner know if the rented car is out of the designated area. Auto insurance will cover all the cars registered on the platform.

Car owners and drivers do not even have to meet each other, because the tracking device installed in member's vehicles will allow the renter to unlock the doors.

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