The transportation sector is undergoing a period of profound transformation, with innovation intended to improve efficiency and protect the environment, but different participants are pursuing different paths, industry leaders said Monday at this year's Summer Davos. [Special Coverage]
Shenzhen-based carmaker BYD Co and U.S.-based Uber Inc have the same goals, but like their businesses, their paths are very different. One is looking at new-energy vehicles while the other aims to get more people into fewer cars.
"If there is a mobility service that's cheaper than owning a car, more reliable, and you get sit in the back seat instead of being stressed out in the front seat, why would you [want a car]?" Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said during an event. "And we are talking about taking pollution out of the air."
China offers great potential for Uber because "the government and the people are really welcoming" when it comes to innovation, Kalanick said, noting his company is still investing heavily in China to grow its business.
In contrast to Uber's path, traditional carmaker BYD wants to improve energy efficiency.
"Battery technology is the bottleneck for the growth of electric cars. Once we make a breakthrough, there's no doubt that our environment will be better and our reliance on gas will be reduced," President Wang Chuanfu said in a separate panel.
Wang said that the sector will take off soon with government support policies, including fiscal incentives, and eventually gain ground on its own.