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Truck Alliance turns into a unicorn

By Cheng Yu in Beijing and Yang Jun in Guiyang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-24 08:43

Truck Alliance is a Ubertype Chinese company for heavy vehicles and a global "unicorn".

Guiyang Huochebang Technology Co Ltd, or Truck Alliance for short, is one of 55 startups in China worth more than $1 billion, consultancy CB Insights reported.

"Huochebang impressed us a lot with its business model, scale of platform and operation," said Wu Wenjie, a managing partner at Baidu Capital, which is part of online giant Baidu Inc.

"It has a deep understanding of China's logistics market and has established the largest and the only nationwide matching system between truckers and shippers, holding a dominant position in this sector," Wu added, pointing out that Baidu Capital is a major investor in the startup.

Earlier this year, Truck Alliance received $56 million in series B-3 funding, led by All-Stars Investment Ltd, a specialized hybrid fund.

More than $327 million has been raised through series B funding.

Naturally, big data has played a crucial part in Truck Alliance's success as it helps connect drivers with commodities which need transporting. It is also vital to run the app's truck sales and auto finance services.

"We are bullish about the prospects for the integration of the logistics industry and mobile internet," said Ji Weidong, co-founder of All-Stars Investment.

Based in Guizhou province, Truck Alliance is also backed by online juggernaut Tencent Holdings Ltd, as well as an array of big players.

In May, the company announced it had developed language apps in Uygur, Russian and Mongolian in a move to promote trans-border logistics, and commerce for economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"The combination of railways and highways will be significant in the future when it comes to the Belt and Road Initiative and for Eurasia," said Tang Tianguang, co-founder and chief technology officer of Truck Alliance.

"Logistics mainly rely on these networks," he added.

Many Eurasian economies and regions still lag behind in internet infrastructure development and smart freight transportation.

By the end of July, Truck Alliance had 4.5 million registered vehicles and 880,000 corporate customers.

More than 140,000 transactions go through the company's books each day with total freight charges exceeding 1.7 billion yuan ($260 million).

Truck Alliance has also signed a deal with China Shenhua Rail and Trucks Co, which is heavily involved in road-rail transportation in economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"In the past, we built a logistics network covering many parts of China," Tang said. "In the future, we plan to go out and connect different countries and regions in the Belt and Road Initiative."

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