Caixin
Nov 25, 2020 05:53 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

China’s Uber-Like Truck Platform Raises $1.7 Billion for Business Expansion

Mobile-based truck-hailing services have boomed in China, offering more efficient solutions for cargo transport.
Mobile-based truck-hailing services have boomed in China, offering more efficient solutions for cargo transport.

Full Truck Alliance, a truck-hailing service provider, raised $1.7 billion from a group of investors including SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., adding to the company’s resources for expanding its same-city delivery initiative.

Known as Manbang in Chinese, the company was valued at about $12 billion after the investment, people familiar with the matter told Caixin. The valuation nearly doubled from Manbang’s last funding round more than two years ago.

Manbang’s foray into the same-city delivery market will challenge existing players such as Didi Chuxing’s cargo transport unit and Lalamove, a person close to the deal said. The company said it achieved profit this year as the Covid-19 pandemic boosted demand for logistics.

Manbang is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering next year. Chief Financial Officer Richard Zhang said the company was weighing a public share sale after breaking even last May.

Formed in 2017 by a merger between China’s two largest truck-sharing platforms — Huochebang and Yunmanman — Manbang operates a platform that connects millions of mostly independent truckers with customers. The company said there are more than 10 million registered truck drivers and more than 5 million verified shippers on its platform. It makes money by charging a fee when brokering transactions and by offering en-route services to drivers.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital, Fidelity International and Permira led the round of funding, Manbang said in a statement. Other investors included Hillhouse, GGV, Lightspeed, All-Stars Investment, Baillie Gifford, Tencent and Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital.

Manbang launched its same-city delivery service two months ago in selected cities and has recorded daily orders exceeding 10,000. An executive said the new business will benefit from Manbang’s expertise in long-distance transport and resources in the logistics sector.

The new capital will support the same-city business expansion, Manbang said. The company will also expand into gas station operation, insurance, car sales and other logistics-related businesses.

Car-hailing giant Didi Chuxing launched its cargo transport service in June and expanded quickly in cities including Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai. The company said it handled more than 100,000 orders a day since mid-September as it prepares to start services in more cities.

Hong Kong-based Lalamove was founded in 2013 with businesses including long-distance transport, same-city delivery, car rental and drivers’ services. As of September, the company hosted 7.2 million monthly active users in 352 Chinese cities.

Manbang completed a previous round of fundraising of $1.9 billion in April 2018, valuing the company at $6 billion. The company has since launched investment in businesses including autonomous trucking startup Plus.AI, Brazilian cargo transport matching platform Truckpad Tecnologia and auto service platform JYBD.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com).

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