BASF and DiDi, the world’s leading mobile transportation platform, recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, where Xiaoju Autocare (Xiaoju Yangche), a subsidiary of DiDi, is headquartered.
According to the agreement, BASF will provide DiDi with sustainable automotive refinish products developed at its research and production site in Jiangmen. These products, designed for the Chinese market, will help reduce VOC emissions and meet the stringent standards implemented in various cities in China. As strategic partners, the two companies are committed to the sustainable development of the carsharing industry in and out of China.
Paint-related products under the RODIM brand will be part of the offerings to help body shops enhance workflow and overall performance for automotive refinishing. In addition, a dedicated expert team from BASF will perform timely professional technical services for DiDi, including training for body shop operators.
DiDi currently owns 25 body and paint shops in China, with plans to expand to more than 200 owned and franchised shops globally by the end of this year. “Simplification is in our DNA. We focus on simplifying processes and operations while our business is expanding,” said Gu Haijie, President of Xiaoju Autocare. “BASF is the one-stop solution provider that can help us standardise the painting process for our new shops. This will help us increase efficiency by integrating the whole value chain of contractors, dealers and repair centres.”
DiDi has been a leader in the online-hailing business since 2012, accounting for 90 percent of the total carsharing market in China, which reached CNY 300 billion in 2019. DiDi’s fleet consists of 300,000 cars and is projected to reach one million in 2022. DiDi’s subsidiary, Xiaoju Autocare, is the largest one-stop car-owner service platform, covering around 30 million registered drivers and serving 550 million users. BASF first approached DiDi and Xiaoju Autocare in late 2019 and had already secured the first business opportunities by early 2020, when BASF started the conversion of DiDi’s first shops in Shanghai.
“DiDi is a typical unicorn company. One of the factors that connects us is our ability to respond to market needs quickly,” said Patrick Zhao, Senior Vice President Coatings Solutions Asia Pacific, BASF. “The strategic cooperation will enable us to explore the carsharing market and bring this partnership to a new level. DiDi will offer consumers a preferred choice of carsharing. At the same time, BASF will contribute to the sustainable development of the refinish industry with our global network of presence, comprehensive automotive portfolio, and a vast talent pool.”
BASF’s Coatings division has a global network of more than 80 Refinish Competence Centres across the world, nine of which are located in China, reaching more than 25,000 customers in automotive coatings training workshops annually. It initiated the STAMPP (STimulate and revAMp the Paint Profession) program, an internationally standardised two-year training for new automotive refinishing technicians, partnering with more than 100 occupational schools and body shops. Since launching the program in 2008, BASF has established 29 schools in China.
BASF also sponsors several national and international painting contests to promote the profession among the younger generation, including WorldSkills International, the world championship of refinish painting apprentices. BASF is the largest chemical supplier for the entire automotive industry, providing solutions ranging from original equipment manufacturers, systems, components, and parts to aftermarket segments.