Chinese auto information and transaction platform AutoHome (NYSE: ATHM) is funding branded “car clubs” in more than 60 high schools across China. It hopes to reach up to 300 schools by the end of 2019. The car clubs are offline extensions of the company’s HeyCar (嘿car) app — a mobile social network along the lines of Snap or Twitter, targeting under-25s, which launched in June.

AutoHome is offering financial and technological support for these social clubs, to help them produce content for the app. Content production is a major new focus for AutoHome under the company’s new “4+1” strategy, launched in 2017.

The company scored a hit with its “Eleven Days of Recording” promotion in October. The campaign invited users to upload short video content of their vehicles, offering cash prizes for individual videos and shared prizes for the most popular brands. More than 70 million people in China watched the videos, with 220 million views recorded across all submissions.

In November, AutoHome launched another new app, QiChe DianPing (AKA, “Car Review”), an offshoot of the QiChe DianPing channel on the company’s auto brand information and content site CheJiaHao. The channel, which has more than 111,000 subscribers, aggregates auto reviews from across the internet. 

The group’s average daily unique visitors across its mobile websites and apps reached 27.9 million in September 2018, representing a 48 percent year-over-year increase.

Ping An Insurance acquired a 53 percent stake in AutoHome in 2017. Since then it’s been shifting its business away from transactions and into asset-light arenas like shareable content, financing, and insurance. The strategy has been paying off. Net revenues in the second quarter of 2018 were 1.87 billion RMB ($282.4 million U.S.) — up 31.4 percent year-over-year.

AutoHome invested $100 million U.S. in c-to-b auction platform TTP Car Inc. (AKA, Tiantian Paiche), back in June. According to its news statement, the investment will allow AutoHome to link its own b-to-c service — “AutoHome Trusted Alliances” — with TTP’s c-to-b infrastructure. TTP auctioned 400,000 vehicles, with a monthly GMV of close to one billion RMB, in H1 2018.


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