Cheng Wei Says Didi Has Only Achieved 1% of The Mission

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Cheng Wei, the founder, chairman and CEO of Didi, was invited to speak at Tsinghua University yesterday evening. When sharing his experience of starting up business with college students born in 1990s and 2000s, Cheng Wei said, we possibly were at the best time now since the millennium. With technology explosion and industrial revolution, young people in China believe that innovation has the opportunity to change the world.

At the same time, he believes that the third global trend may happen in transportation and automobile sectors and convergences among technological innovations like new energy, sharing and intelligence are possible in the next ten years. Didi now has only accomplished 1% of its mission.

“Now we are at the best time”

When sharing his experience, Cheng Wei admitted that he realized we possibly were at the best time now since the millennium. With technology explosion and industrial revolution, young people in China believe that innovation has the opportunity to change the world.

Young people in many countries want to join foreign invested companies or established traditional businesses. While China’s top students begin to believe that joining a young tech company is the best option. Young people should choose challenge instead of stability and find their own possibilities.

“Each big industry change is accompanied by glorious companies and universities, such as the second industrial revolution and Oxford; Ford, GM and Michigan; and Stanford and Silicon Valley elites,” said Cheng Wei. He thinks, the rise of new industries is closely related to theory research of new industry, continuous technology breakthroughs and talent cultivations. Corporate must fully coordinate with universities, realizing connective study and talent flow.

Cheng Wei told students at the site to believe in themselves and to believe in youth. He said, “choose a tough road when you are young, because it is the way heading upwards and the way can make you different each day.”

“Didi now has only accomplished 1% of its mission”

Talking about the Internet and the future, Cheng Wei believes that after two global trends of PC and smart, the third global trend may happen in transportation and automobile sectors and convergences among technological innovations like new energy, sharing and intelligence are possible in the next ten years.

He said, “we are in a world where space is three-dimensional and the road is two-dimensional.” He added that perhaps in our lifetime, we could see the traffic to be three-dimensional. The world will change tremendously. The car will be unmanned and cars may become the first batch that human applies robot AI in large scale.

For Didi, Cheng said that in the past five years, Didi had experienced a lot of life-and-death challenges, such as cruel domestic and foreign competition and system barriers traditional taxi industry. In the second five years, Didi aims to become a world-class technology company that will lead the transformation in transportation and automotive industries. “There’s so much more to do,” he said. “today, Didi has only accomplished 1% of its mission.”

In the view of Cheng Wei, solution to traffic problem could be solved by innovation. In many big cities, the number of cars grows by 20% a year while the road only increases by 1%. The supply and demand among people, vehicles and roads are uneven. Despite of lessons learned in the past, everyone still wants to buy a car. However, there still are not enough cars for people (due to the restrictions on purchase and traffic as well as the difficulty to hail a taxi), deficient roads for vehicle (congestion). The car has filled the city. On the other hand, car utilization rate is the lowest among all manufactured goods. The city had to build many parking lots for cars, which remains unused for 95% of the time. And parking space is even more expensive than the car. It is just like get the casket and return the pearl.

Cheng believes that in the future, it is not necessary for each one to own a car. His understanding of the future traffic, is sharing, new energy and intelligence. It is to study the law of the people to travel and to understand the traffic tools through large traffic data and AI of smart transportation, so as to offer suggestion to everyone and to set route for each car. In this way, the city’s overall travel efficiency could be improved.

He said the existing smart traffic lights and tidal lanes promoted by Didi have made some difference in easing traffic pressures. Didi hopes to promote the development of new energy and to layout global mobile travel industry.

This article originally appeared in Sina Technology and was translated by Pandaily.
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