Easiway, an app created by South Korean startup Easishare Limited that connects passengers with rides between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, has announced it will launch a new service for corporate and business travellers.
Though Shenzhen and Hong Kong are neighbours, crossing the border is a gruelling process involving going through crowds and customs. Easiway wants to simplify that process.
Like Uber, Easiway users simply book a ride through the app, which provides an estimation of the cost of the journey. An Easiway van driver is then assigned to them.
For identification, the passenger is given the van number and name of the driver. Riders then cross the border and get dropped off at the location of their choice.
Companies can use this web tool after requesting for an account. Prepaid corporate packages are available for groups of eight, 15 and 30.
What makes this convenient over, say, hopping on a bus? Vans booked by Easiway have two license plates, one for Shenzhen and one for Hong Kong, meaning passengers can stay inside the car, as opposed to getting off.
According to Euna Lee, a spokesperson for Easiway, the startup is working with 46 vans. In total, she says there are about 20,000 dual-plated vans. Easiway does not own any of the vans, but instead partners with rental van companies and connects them to the drivers.
At the moment, Lee estimates that booking a single trip from Central, Hong Kong past the border of Shenzhen would cost about US$110 (RMB700). A van has seats for up to six people, and the cost is the same, regardless of the amount of people. Companies can get a discount by purchasing a corporate package.
“We realised that with a van with two plates, you don’t need to get off for custom checks. The driver will simply ask for your passport at the beginning, and it will be checked by customs,” shared Lee.
Easiway is part of Easishare Limited, a joint venture in Hong Kong and Shenzhen created by Korea-based easi6, backed by Chinese partners. Easiway launched its services in August as a joint venture in Hong Kong and Shenzhen earlier this year.
Why is a startup from South Korea getting involved in the commute from China to Hong Kong, though?
“We’re a startup from Korea, but our mentor always commuted from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. We learned that around 600,000 people cross the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen on a daily basis, and we thought that there must be a way to simplify this process,” said Lee.
The app is available in Chinese, English, Korean and Japanese. Payment methods also include Alipay.
Image Credit: Easiway