Dong Kainan, general manager of Cao Cao Travel (provided by the interviewee)
Recently, Dong Kainan (hereinafter referred to as “Dong”), general manager of Cao Cao Travel, accepted an exclusive interview with Jiemian journalists.
In 2015, Geely, a traditional car company, launched Cao Cao Travel. As the first “test field” for car companies to deploy online car-hailing, Cao Cao Travel has become Geely’s direct-to-user product. After nearly five years of development, it has more than 33 million users. .
At the same time, the five years of Cao Cao’s development are also the five years of changes in the travel industry. After Didi became an oligarch, the aggregation platform headed by AutoNavi, and the car companies represented by Cao Cao Travel became the three-way mainstream force for car-hailing, and the competition continued.
In 2020, due to the impact of the epidemic, major leasing companies (transport capacity providers) are facing great challenges to survive. There is no doubt that online car-hailing companies that are highly dependent on transport capacity are also going through difficult times. “The suppliers of online car-hailing may go out of business. For Cao Cao in the B2C model, it is an opportunity to increase the recruitment of drivers and expand the scale.” Dong Kainan said.
Dong Kainan also believes that at present, online car-hailing is in the process of compliance. Starting from 2023, online car-hailing will gradually enter the era of customization and intelligence, and will rely on vehicles to create a “third space”.
“We are developing some special functions to meet the needs of specific groups of people, and these functions will focus on the customized models of version 1.0
The following is the content of the interview:
still in investment period
Reporter: In 2015, what strategic considerations did Geely decide to do online car-hailing?
Dong: At that time, Geely was still a traditional car manufacturer. We judged that the future of cars must be electrified, intelligent, networked and shared. As a manufacturer, if you want to know the future, you have to do it, so that you may know where the user needs are.
Cao Cao’s operation now has more than 33 million users. Through direct interaction with users, we have obtained more user data, and have a better understanding of users’ needs for automobiles, thus promoting Geely’s research and development of automobiles.
Reporter: Is the development of Cao Cao Travel in line with expectations?
Dong: On the whole, it is in line with expectations. Cao Cao and Didi are taking a differentiated path and insisting on green travel. Through the operation of new energy vehicles in online car-hailing, consumers can experience more new energy vehicles.
At the same time, in the cities currently deployed by Cao Cao Mobility, at least 90% of the core pile enterprise data is controlled by Cao Cao Mobility. Through the interconnection with cooperative pile enterprises, Cao Cao has created the first aggregated charging platform and used it for drivers. end. Drivers can connect with “Cao Cao Charging” through their mobile phones, charge online, and check out. At the same time, because “Cao Cao Charging” has an agreed price with charging companies, the price will be relatively cheap.
Reporter: Is Cao Cao Travel currently profitable?
Dong: In some cities, it is profitable, but overall it is a loss. Now it is in the investment period.
Reporter: Cao Cao insists on the model of “full-time” driver, and the cost is relatively heavy. How to balance the cost and scale?
Dong: Through the integration of upstream and downstream supply chains, the efficiency of drivers, vehicles, and operation teams can be improved, and costs can also be reduced. For example, if a vehicle is out of service, we can negotiate with the insurance company to temporarily surrender the insurance, and re-submit the insurance when the vehicle is put into operation again. In addition, if the driver leaves the city and returns to his hometown, he can hold the “passport” of Cao Cao’s travel and pick up the car to join the job in another place. This dual-track approach can minimize the problem of vacant vehicles.
Reporter: How far is it from the mention of “Cao Cao’s travel” that users will think of the strong brand effect of “online car-hailing”?
Dong: A strong brand is formed by scale. It needs a process. In the cities where Cao Cao operates, it has a certain influence, but overall, the capacity of Cao Cao’s travel is still in the climbing stage.
Customized models will be launched this year
Reporter: In August 2018, after Didi’s “Yueqing Incident”, what kind of considerations did you have?
Dong: During that time, the number of users and orders of Cao Cao Travel showed an overall upward trend. Cao Cao Travel is a B2C model. Cars and drivers are directly managed by Cao Cao Travel, and they will go faster than others in the process of compliance. The more compliant, the safer it is.
Cao Cao Travel adopts the vehicle network technology, which can monitor the driving trajectory of the vehicle and the driver in real time. Once the vehicle leaves the Electronic fence or enters a remote area, the vehicle will alarm, and the abnormality will be displayed in the background in real time.
Reporter: Affected by the epidemic, online car-hailing suppliers may close down. Is this an opportunity for Cao Cao?
Dong: It’s an opportunity. For stock drivers, we moved the training online. In addition, since a large number of leasing companies may close down, many drivers will face unemployment. During this period, Cao Cao Travel will expand the scale of drivers and increase capacity. Last year, we also announced the “Corporate Franchise” plan, which empowers qualified franchisees with traffic, technology, and branding.
Reporter: What opportunities does this epidemic have for Cao Cao’s travel?
Dong: During the epidemic, every driver had to check their body temperature after going online. At the same time, in the early stage of the epidemic, Geely Automobile invested 370 million yuan to start the research and development of an all-round healthy car with virus prevention functions. On the other hand, Cao Cao Travel, through the analysis of user travel big data and the research on the needs of both drivers and passengers during the epidemic, cooperated with LEVC, a London electric vehicle company under Geely Commercial Vehicle Group, to invest in the development of a comprehensive and healthy version of the British TX model.
After this epidemic, the needs of users will shift to health and safety, which is an opportunity for B2C platforms.
Reporter: How long will this cycle take before users truly put safety and health first, rather than cost-effectiveness?
Dong: Within two or three years, user habits will shift in this direction, but there needs to be a process of user cultivation.
Reporter: A long time ago, Cao Cao proposed the concepts of “customization” and “mobile space”. Has the epidemic accelerated this process?
Dong: At present, Cao Cao’s updated Geometry A model has realized some customization functions. The entire travel industry will definitely develop in the direction of customization.
At the same time, cars in the future will definitely be intelligent. In the past 5 years of operation, Cao Cao Mobility has built a car networking system. At present, Cao Cao Mobility’s dispatching mechanism relies on the data accumulated by the car network. In the future, we will The air, temperature, music and other environments in the car can be customized.
Reporter: How far is it from “customization” in the true sense?
Dong: Many needs of users have been fed back to Geely Research Institute, and customized models are also in the process of research and development, but it is too early to say customization. There is still a long way to go. Only by accumulating enough user data , it is possible to achieve customization only after enough data of the Internet of Vehicles has been accumulated.
In addition, the needs of users are constantly changing, so even if the first customized model comes out, it must be constantly changed.
Reporter: When is the first customized model expected to reach users in batches?
Dong: The customized models of version 1.0 are expected to be launched within the year. In this version, some special functions will be launched to meet the needs of specific groups of people for taxis.
Reporter: What imaginary space does the 1.0 version have?
Dong: It will customize the software and hardware, such as music, temperature, etc.
Reporter: Will version 1.0 be an opportunity for Cao Cao to overtake in a corner? From a strategic point of view, what does version 1.0 mean for Cao Cao?
Dong: Version 1.0 is an opportunity for Cao Cao to overtake in a corner. Electrification is the first half of the new development of automobiles, and intelligence will kick off the second half. Version 1.0 is a big step forward for Cao Cao Travel in the direction of intelligence.
With the continuous iteration of technology and requirements, there will be versions 2.0 and 3.0.
Three years later will enter “intelligent”
Reporter: Last year, Didi installed a car screen in the car to sell traffic. Will you also try this?
Dong: This is what we call the “third space”. In this space, more services can be provided to users. Previously, some platforms tried to sell snacks in the car. After demonstration, this model was not established, because the car sales involved the hygiene and safety of mobile food and the safety of personnel during the driving process of the vehicle.
On the 1.0 version of the customized model, an on-board screen will also be installed.
Reporter: Will you try other peripheral businesses?
Dong: We launched “Cao Cao’s Help” to allow drivers to carry out intra-city delivery. Regarding the exploration of surrounding businesses, Cao Cao Travel will rely on its founding shareholder Geely Technology Group for strategic layout.
Reporter: At the business level, what resources will Geely give to Cao Cao to travel?
Dong: Geely will give Cao Cao a lot of support in cutting-edge technology and global resources.
On March 3, the Taizhou Geely satellite project built by Geely Technology Group started in Taizhou. The project will complete the layout of Geely’s low-orbit satellites and promote the development of Geely’s “integration of heaven and earth” travel ecology. In the future, after the low-orbit satellite layout is formed, the navigation accuracy will be improved to the centimeter level. Cao Cao is a direct-to-user product in the group. Once these layouts and attempts are successful, they will be grafted onto the platform of Cao Cao.
At the same time, with the global resource network of Geely Holding, Cao Cao’s trip to the sea has also been put on the agenda, and a trial operation has been launched in Paris.
Reporter: Does Cao Cao Travel have a team dedicated to project incubation?
Dong: Cao Cao Travel has a forward-looking strategic business department dedicated to researching business related to the field of large-scale travel, including autonomous driving.
Reporter: How many people are there in this department?
Dong: Nearly 100 people.
Reporter: At present, what stage is the development of online car-hailing?
Dong: There are three stages in the car-hailing market. The first stage is when Didi cultivate users, the market, and the rapid development of the barbaric growth stage; the second stage is the implementation of the new policy, and the industry gradually complies with regulations. At present, the industry is in this stage of development. ; The third stage will be towards intelligent development, and this stage may not start until 2023.
Reporter: Will 2023 be an inflection point for the car-hailing industry? Now in the final shock phase?
Dong: 2023 will indeed be an inflection point for the online car-hailing industry. The entire industry will enter a period of industrial transformation that tests the ability to master the industrial chain and core technologies. Cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, big data, autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence will reshape our future. mode of travel.