Caixin
May 08, 2018 03:22 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

Ant Financial Leads Financing in Car-Sharing Startup Like Chuxing

A user unlocks a shared car via mobile phone in Jinan, Shandong Province. Photo: VCG
A user unlocks a shared car via mobile phone in Jinan, Shandong Province. Photo: VCG

* China will have 355 million eligible drivers by 2020, compared with 195 million cars
* It was the third funding round completed by Like Chuxing within a month

(Beijing) — Like Chuxing, a car-sharing startup, completed B-round funding from a group of investors led by Ant Financial Services Group, the fintech affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

It was the third funding round completed by Like Chuxing within a month, reflecting investors’ growing enthusiasm for China’s booming urban mobility market. Demand for the services has fed a number of rising unicorns like ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and bike sharing firms Mobike and Ofo.

Car-sharing services are still at a nascent stage in China despite tech giants waging cut-throat wars for ride-hailing and bike-sharing businesses over the past several years, creating a few dominant players while forcing smaller players into the ditch.

Analysts said they expected that the car-sharing market to be the next battlefield for tech companies to fight for city commuters and become a cradle for more rising unicorns — startups valued at more than $1 billion. 

In April, ride-hailing behemoth Didi Chuxing teamed up with 12 automakers, including the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Geely Auto and BAIC, to jointly develop an electric-vehicle-sharing network. Bike-sharing leader Mobike, Ant Financial-backed Youon Bike, car rental company CAR Inc. and online travel agent Ctrip.com International have also unveiled plans to tap into the car-sharing business.

PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted more than 50% annual growth in China’s car-sharing market over the next five years. Chinese market analyst group Analysis International estimated that China’s car-sharing market will generate annual revenue of 11.8 billion yuan ($2 billion) by 2020, rising from 3.6 billion yuan this year. China will have 355 million eligible drivers by 2020, compared with 195 million cars, creating demand for shared cars, according to car-sharing company EvCard.

Established last June, Like Chuxing operates timeshare car rental services, which allow drivers to unlock vehicles and pay their rent through a mobile app.

Tianjin-based Like Chuxing didn’t disclose financial details of the latest funding round. Investors include Ant Financial, Legend Capital, K2 Venture Capital and Bluerun Ventures.

In two funding rounds in April, Like Chuxing raised $20 million from investors including Legend Capital and K2 Venture Capital.

Wang Yang, chief executive officer of Like Chuxing, told media that funds raised from the latest round will be used mainly to expand the company’s service network, increase vehicle supply and invest in research and development. Like Chuxing is expected to cooperate with Ant Financial in user management, credit assessment and other financial services, said Wang, as quoted by the tech news portal 26kr.

Like Chuxing has launched services in six Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Foshan, Nanjing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Changsha. The company plans to expand its services to as many as 25 cities by the end of this year with a fleet of more than 40,000 vehicles.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

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