Shifting into high gear
Charlotte Ye, MBA ’00: Founder and CEO, Webcars.com.cn
“In 2002, for the first time, China sold over one million new vehicles,” says Charlotte Ye, who was then Internet business director at Goodyear in Akron, Ohio. Fascinated by China’s exploding auto business, Ye returned to China in 2003 to get a foothold in the growing car market. After gaining experience at a local Internet company (raising $10 million in venture capital as CFO), she decided to start her own company, Webcars.com.cn, in 2006. It is now one of the top five automotive sites in China and partners with a couple of major U.S. automotive sites.
Ye’s site provides consumers with a comprehensive car buying
and owning experience. “We have auto reviews, market reports,
ratings, specifications, pictures, and consumer reviews,” says Ye.
“We host hundreds of dealer microsites and provide consumers
with dynamic dealer inventory and promotions.” And Ye calls My
Auto Center, Webcars.com.cn’s social-networking feature, “an
Webcars.com.cn has nearly doubled its employee base over the past year, from 80 to 150, and expanded beyond Beijing to Shanghai and Tian Jin. Noting that the Chinese auto market, which sold more than 10 million new cars this year, is maintaining double-digit growth, Ye says, “We can grow at least at the same rate, possibly much more.” She also plans to explore beyond Webcars.com.cn’s current market (new cars) to auto services and used cars.
Ye says she benefited from the counsel of Johnson School classmates Geoffrey Lim, managing director at Founder China Partners; Tony Jian, executive director of China Outsource Group; and venture capitalist Kuantai Yeh, MBA ’98, managing director at Highland Capital Partners.
Focused now on building a strong management team, Ye says, “Anyone interested in working in a fast-growing automotive Internet company in China, let me know!”