* GM invests in maker of car-sharing app Feezu
* No deal value disclosed
(Adds GM comment on venture and possible tie-in with its Maven
By Jake Spring
BEIJING, Oct 12 U.S. automaker General Motors Co
made its first investment in a Chinese car-sharing start
up, the company said on Tuesday, as its attempt to reshape
itself as a mobility solutions company spreads around the globe.
A GM spokeswoman declined to disclose the size of the
investment in Yi Wei Xing (Beijing) Technology Co Ltd, which
developed Feezu, a car rental and car-sharing app.
"This cooperation is very important to our company to
explore ride-sharing market in China," the spokeswoman said in
an email to Reuters. "It is GM's first investment in a start-up
in China related to urban mobility."
GM is "looking at our footprint in China and opportunities
there, and Yi Wei Xing is a step in that direction," said Vijay
Iyer, GM spokesman for the Maven car-sharing service and based
in Detroit, in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "How that
will ultimately show itself in a service perspective is in the
"We are now purchasing technology in that market to be able
to deliver ride-sharing experiences and we'll take it from
there," he said.
GM and other major global automakers have rushed to team up
with technology companies as services like ride hailing and car
sharing pose a threat to the traditional model of car ownership.
This year GM made a $500 million investment in U.S.
ride-hailing company Lyft, while Japan's Toyota
partnered with Uber and Germany's Volkswagen
tied up with Israel-based car-hailing firm Gett.
Yi Wei Xing did not respond to requests for comment.
Feezu, whose Chinese name translates as "micro car rental,"
allows users to rent vehicles for as little as 10 minutes. The
app differs from services like Uber and Lyft that primarily hail
cars with drivers.
Iyer said it was premature to say whether GM's Maven
car-sharing service would be involved with the Yi Wei Xing
venture. Iyer said GM wanted to work with Yi Wei Xing in part
because it has already created a presence in China, the world's
biggest automobile market.
GM launched Maven in January in the United States.
(Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Editing by
Kim Coghill and Meredith Mazzilli)