BEIJING – Just five months after founding FutureMove Automotive Co., Ltd. in April 2015, John Wang already had a major global OEM on board.
“That was a miracle,” boasted Wang, chairman and CEO of the new Digital & Mobility Service Provider (DMSP).
“No small startup has ever gotten a first customer as big as this OEM in the history of the industry.”
Wang spoke to CBU/CAR in an interview in early March at the company’s headquarters inside the artistic and innovative IMAGE BASE BEIJING, a complex in eastern Beijing that is home to many startups.
FutureMove is a high-tech enterprise focusing on providing services operation and information solution in the connected vehicle space. It is the first domestic company devoted to providing smart connected vehicle service and mobility service in the Internet+ era, offering expertise in telematics, car sharing, big data analysis, mobile application and more.
Wang founded the company with seven other co-founders who previously worked at companies across different industries including Microsoft, Accenture, Qoros and China Unicom. But all have prior auto industry experiences in one way or another. Wang himself, for example, has 17 years of experience in IT consulting services and project implementation, having worked as the connected car strategic business leader and chief architect of Microsoft China’s Enterprises Service Department before founding FutureMove. It currently has about 150 employees in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.
FutureMove got the nod for the next generation telematics platform for the OEM. It beat three other TSPs including who were already supplying the OEM, according to Wang.
Wang attributed to his past experience as well as those of the other founders as a crucial reason why FutureMove was able to get the business. In fact, it was FutureMove’s backend on the cloud technology that won it over, rather than cost.
“Our quotations was not the lowest (among bidders),” said Wang. “Actually technology was a more important factor than price.”
One of the senior executive from the OEM, according to Wang, commented that FutureMove “has the technology capability of a global company and nimbleness of a startup.”
“This OEM had a new business division, so they need innovation and creativity. But they don’t believe traditional tech suppliers could do that. They need a “smart” startup company like FutureMove to support its transformation,” said Wang.
FutureMove has since added two additional customers: FAW Group and CH-Auto, a domestic high-end EV manufacturer. They have chosen FutureMove as a Car Sharing Platform provider,Connected Vehicle Service provider, and HMI design provider. “Pre-installation market is our focus,” said Wang.
The company touts “Smart x Vehicle as a Service” as its brand motto and slogan. The concept is oriented around the vehicle and human, where to the vehicle is “smart as a service” and to the human is “vehicle as a service.” It has independently developed the Ultimate Connected Car Architecture (UCCA) that combines technologies of Connected Vehicle Service, mobility, cloud computing and big data. It currently offers connected solutions including connected vehicle platform, car sharing, big vehicle data, content aggregator, operations, EV monitoring program and auto e-commerce platform. Core products include CLOUDMove, DREAMove, JOYMove, CYBERMove and ConnectedEngine.
Wang expects to have a total of five customers by the end of this year in addition to this OEM, FAW and CH-Auto. For this OEM, he expects potential revenues of more than ¥1 billion. The customer is due to make an official announcement on FutureMove when the system goes live and by the end of this year, there will be about 5,000 owners of the brand in China that will start to use the new digital service as part of a pilot program that will be expanded globally, according to Wang.
Looking ahead to the future of the industry and mobility, Wang reiterated the biggest change of all is the customer, who no longer needs to own cars.
“The ‘Smart x Vehicle as a Service’ will be the future trend for the auto industry,” said Wang. “That is why we do telematics and Mobility platform. We provide the car sharing platform technology and the OEMs can use it to tailor to their needs.”
Wang believes that 10 years from now, OEMs will still take the lead in the industry even though there are a host of new players such as LeTV, Apple and Google coming into the game, because traditional OEMs have big strategies down the road.
“Our first OEM customer, one of the biggest car makers in the world, expects that by 2030, half of its revenues will be from selling cars and half will come from services. This is a very big transformation,” said Wang.