Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance is merging both car sharing operations in China, car2go and Car2Share.

This, it said, will allow it to "focus on better serving the needs of local consumers".

The consolidated car2go China will be headed by Chen Bing as CEO.

"With this move, the company demonstrates its commitment to expanding car sharing services locally. Building on its role as the first premium car manufacturer whose expertise lays in to offer both free-floating and station-based car sharing services in China, the consolidation of the two brands is an important milestone in the strategic expansion of mobility services. With the consolidation of all local car sharing operations now under one roof, the company can provide the right mobility solution for every situation, with mobility at fingertips via a smartphone," a company statement said.

Alexandre Mallmann, president and CEO, Mercedes-Benz Auto Finance, said: "Daimler is not just a manufacturer of safe and fascinating automobiles. As the first premium manufacturer to bring car sharing to China, we are also a pioneer in mobility services. Now by combining the power of these two great brands, we are showing our innovation and determination to move car sharing forward with an even stronger strategic focus in China."

Car2go China currently operates in seven cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Chongqing. In 2016, the combined registered users of both services exceeded 250,000, a 12-fold growth over the previous year. In 2016 alone, car sharing customers in China drove around 5m km (3m miles) last year.

The car2go service launched in Chongqing only in April 2016, bringing its service to Asia for the first time. Chongqing is among the top 10 largest car2go programmes.

Daimler became the first premium brand to offer car sharing services in China with Car2Share. Through partnerships with business partners as of last year, its total coverage reached over 60 stations.