Premium mobility in China
Hong Kong is not only one of the world’s most innovative but also among its most densely populated cities. More than seven million people live in an area of just 1,100 square kilometers. Fewer than one in a hundred residents has a vehicle registered in their name. Nowhere else do people embrace new trends as eagerly—such as new ways of using cars, including the four rings’ premium mobility service Audi on demand.
The next level of mobility solutions
Available outside Hong Kong in Beijing, Singapore, San Francisco, Manchester and Munich, Audi on demand allows customers to pick and choose from exclusively equipped top models that run the gamut from compact cars, through SUVs, to high-performance sports models. Users select their preferred car via smartphone and book it for a flexible period ranging from one hour to a month. It’s mobility at its most flexible and convenient. What do customers like most about the service?
Audi on demand customers in Hong Kong have their pick of the crème de la crème of the four rings’ models. And the selection of models is regularly updated. At present, for instance, the selection includes the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, Audi S3, Audi Q7, Audi S5 Cabriolet, Audi RS 6 Avant and Audi R8 Spyder V101.
Jimmy Lui, 31
Lui seeks peace and quiet three times a day—in the morning, under the shower after his workout. At midday during his power nap. And in the evening, as pictured here, on the drive home in an Audi S3 from central Hong Kong to the New Territories. Depending on traffic conditions, the trip takes 45 minutes. During those moments, he’s highly focused, filtering out life’s background noise and homing in on what’s important, analyzing it, making decisions and planning. As an employee of an international insurance company, he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance—or worse, the competition.
“As soon as I get into an Audi, I’m totally focused. Just being in the interior catapults me from one moment to the next into a calm, meditative state. It clears my head and spurs my desire to achieve major goals,” says Lui. Which is why the insurance broker can’t deny that his passion for automobiles (he likes to wash his car himself) is underpinned by a sly self-interest: Lui can recharge his batteries and motivate himself with rewards—after all, a luxury car is something you should earn. Plus, of course, there’s the fun factor. Which thanks to Audi on demand, has suddenly increased exponentially for Lui. That’s because when the financial expert gets together with friends to go touring through Hong Kong’s mountainous hinterlands, they aren’t limited to the cars in their garages. They might all pack into an Audi Q7 or spread themselves across a couple of sporty models. “Putting pedal to the metal to climb the Peak up to Hong Kong’s best viewing point, I tune into the engine sound as if it were a symphony. Afterwards we all rave about the experience, like it was a concert.”
When Lui travels for business, he also takes advantage of Audi on demand, usually opting for an Audi RS 6 Avant to pick up clients for appointments or show them the city. But what converted him to Audi? “The Chinese’s strong family ties are still a vital part of our culture. Often, the decision is made for you. If as a child in Hong Kong your father drove you around in an Audi, there’s a good chance that’s what you’ll drive one day.” Asked if that was the case with him, savvy financier Jimmy Lui just winks in reply.
Heison Ng, 32
Ng is a film director who produces music videos and commercials. He believes the secret to a good day’s shooting is thorough preparation. “Of course, I can’t control everything—like the weather or surprise road closures, for instance. But beyond that, I have to take responsibility for any production errors that occur. That keeps your feet on the ground and forces you to never lose sight of the details—in the storyboard, during shooting and when dealing with your team.”
Heison Ng says that although he is often hard on himself, he’s a go-with-the-flow kind of guy who quickly adapts to unexpected conditions. This is something he learned working on his first music videos. “Modest budgets mean you get no second chances. Even if the weather turns during a shoot. The solution is quite simple: You have to rewrite the script on the fly to include the storm. But not with commercials. There, I have to deliver exactly what I’ve promised the client according to the storyboard.
Ng produced two films for Audi and became a fan of Audi on demand in the process. “I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the service.” Since the director is mad about Japanese fashion, he enjoys flying to Tokyo to keep up with the latest styles coming out of Omotesando district. He admires Yohji Yamamoto’s creations in particular. “With Audi on demand, I can now keep on changing my car in sync with the trends I discover on my travels,” enthuses Ng. “What a luxury!” And that’s not all. Ng also chooses his car to suit the occasion and his mood. Together with his wife, he enjoys taking excursions along Hong Kong’s coastal roads at the end of a hard working week. “The sunset at the site where they’re now building the 55-kilometer-long bridge to Macau is spectacular. Driving there in the Audi R8 Spyder V10 really lifts your mood. It almost feels to us as if we’re defying time and space.”
Cannan Lee, 43
Clients can reach the Bank of China financial adviser around the clock. Often he’s still sitting in the office at midnight. Pretty stressful! No wonder he regards his leisure time—recharging his batteries on spontaneous drives or immersing himself in the world of beautiful design—as sacrosanct. His placid and charming air quickly makes it apparent—Lee is very self-assured.
“I could hardly wait to be old enough to take the driving test. Back then, I didn’t care what car I drove—just as long as I was behind the wheel. That’s until a friend lent me his Audi and I couldn’t get the car out of my head!” Banker Cannan Lee lets his hand rest thoughtfully on the door handle of the Audi S5 Cabriolet. Lee has booked the sports car from Audi on demand to fetch his wife from the airport. She grew up in Canada and works in the international fashion industry. “Her job is also tough. And she, too, loves driving,” says Lee.
“When we first found out about Audi on demand, we thought it was a joke. The service just seemed too perfectly tailored to our lifestyle. Suddenly we have the most varied Audi models at our fingertips and can choose depending on mood, destination and needs—whether it’s a shopping trip or occasional drive just for the fun of it.” Lee hops into the Audi S5 Cabriolet and laughs. “What more could you ask for? It’s a sunny day, I have a sporty car and my wife will no doubt be in an excellent mood when she gets to take the wheel at the airport.” Whether Lee uses a car for professional or recreational purposes, he believes it should reflect the driver’s mindset—which in his case, for instance, is best defined as “reliability in style.” It’s also what he appreciates about the Audi on demand service and regards as a basic requirement in Hong Kong’s tough competitive environment. “Transactions on the financial market have gotten faster, which has increased the pressure. My friends often debate staying here or going abroad. My mind is made up. I grew up here and I plan to grow old here. Which means that I’m partly responsible not only for ensuring Hong Kong’s place in the world but also improving it.”
Raymond Lai, 30
The passionate car driver loves Cantonese pop music. His only problem is that permanent parking is scarce and expensive in Hong Kong. What’s more, buying a car isn’t worth it for Lai who can easily commute to his job in the city using public transport. “But then I heard about Audi on demand and now I can pursue my two passions at the same time. At weekends, I book a high-performance car, choose the Cantonese pop soundtrack to go with it and enjoy a couple of hours conquering Hong Kong’s steepest streets.”
Theodore Gun, 37
A former Apple employee, Gun started his own business in Hong Kong and is now a consultant to retail chains aiming to gain a foothold in Asia. “My job is to build bridges into unfamiliar territory,” says the native of Japan. “I help explain cultural differences so that my clients don’t have to be afraid of the unknown.”
With his shoulder-length hair, Gun doesn’t look typically Japanese but rather like an articulate European or American product designer. But his Nippon-based clients appreciate his Japanese style of communicating with its restrained gestures and carefully considered responses. “Hong Kong is the perfect city for me. It’s multicultural and is a short hop away from the other major Asian metropolises,” says Gun, who wouldn’t be an early riser if his two children didn’t force him out of bed. “So my day starts at 7am. Usually, conference calls determine my daily schedule—mornings for the U.S., afternoons for Europe and Japan in between times.”
Although Gun’s garage houses cars of his own, he still makes use of Audi on demand because in his family and professional life he’s continually thrust into new roles: keeping the kids entertained with fun weekend trips to Disneyland, for instance. “When we use Audi on demand, everyone is good to go far more quickly,” grins the consultant. “All I have to say, is ‘hey, listen up everyone, I’m trying out another new Audi model,’ and before you know it they’ve all charged out the door.” When, in contrast, Gun travels on his own, he prefers sportier cars.“ Audi on demand contributes to the high standard of living in Hong Kong.” Which gives him pause for thought about his native country’s place in the Asian world. “I worry that Nippon is missing the boat. Population numbers are decreasing rapidly. It takes forever before decisions are made. Where the Koreans, for example, respond within a month to changes in the economy, and the Chinese within a week, it takes the Japanese a year. I hope that with their experiences abroad my children will lead the charge in opening up my homeland to the world.”
Gary Suen, 27
Suen studied architecture in California before opening his own practice in Hong Kong. “Hong Kong is like New York—a multifaceted metropolis with a taste for exclusivity,” he says. “And Audi on demand is just as exclusive. Gorgeous cars are ready and waiting for me. Registering is simple, as is invoicing—none of it a drain on your time. That instantly struck a chord with me. What’s more, Audi on demand brings variety into everyday life. I can travel between building sites, clients and construction companies in a different model every time.”