|Logo for SoCar|
The company said Friday it has succeeded in procuring 60 billion won ($52.4 million) in new investments from private equity firms that praised the company's crisis management capability and business portfolio.
"SoCar has attracted an investment of 60 billion won from SG PE and Songhyun Investment," the company said.
Taking advantage of its ride-hailing affiliate VCNC, SoCar aims to become a Korean version of Uber. VCNC's mobile app-based van-hailing service Tada had earned explosive popularity, attracting more than 1.7 million users, many of whom were tired of current taxi services, whose drivers are frequently criticized for reckless driving, rudeness and refusing to pick up passengers.
But, VCNC faced protests from the same taxi drivers who claimed the Tada service was illegal because the company transported passengers for money using drivers who didn't possess taxi licenses.
As a result, SoCar's ambitious plan was thwarted after VCNC had to halt operationz of Tada in April when the government revised the Transportation Law to prohibit the operation of such services with drivers who didn't have taxi licenses.
Despite a fall in customers after the COVID-19 outbreak and its van-hailing service was halted, SoCar strengthened its car sharing programs for business customers and expanded new businesses such as its franchise taxi and designated driver services.
The company is also looking to enter the online used car sales market as it recently registered a trademark which could be used for this. As a result, SoCar operates around 12,000 cars with more than 6 million users. Its SoCar Pass vehicle subscription service has around 300,000 subscribers.