Business / Industries

Meet Huochebang: The truck platform improving China's logistics efficiency

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-08-15 11:20

Meet Huochebang: The truck platform improving China's logistics efficiency

GUIYANG - A platform that helps truck drivers find commodities to transport is helping improve logistics efficiency in China.

Headquartered in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province, Huochebang, or "truck groups" in Chinese, provides information about commodities to be transported, as well as vacant parking lots for truck drivers.

Drivers can register at the company by uploading their ID information and drivers' licenses. Then they get free information about commodities waiting to be shipped and vacant parking lots.

Established in 2014, the company now has 3,000 employees.

Most of China's 5.5 million truck drivers are independent and have to look for information about freight via small agents, who often charge for sometimes fake information.

"In the past, it was common for drivers to return home empty-trucked due to a lack of information," said Li Liheng, a truck driver from East China's Shandong province.

Empty trucks waste gasoline, but with Huochebang, an average driver can save up to 34,000 yuan of gas fees each year, said Luo Peng, Huochebang president.

"Last year, Huochebang helped save more than 30 billion yuan worth of gasoline and decreased about 27 million tonnes of carbon emissions," he said.

The company also works with Aliyun, the cloud computing brand under e-commerce giant Alibaba, to publicize a "road logistics index" each day, allowing the drivers to understand what commodities they are carrying, the commodity amount as well as road conditions.

But Huochebang's success did not come easy. Back in June 2014 when the company started to recruit employees in Guiyang, many college teachers and graduates thought it consisted of "a group of cheats."

"We wanted to hire 100 people by July 2014, but people were suspicious as our company was new," said Luo Peng.

The local government helped prove its authenticity and did campus promotions for Huochebang, which paved the way for the company.

The local government also helped build connections between Huochebang and local colleges to create a talent pool for the company. Officials also introduced highly skilled talents to the company by offering free accommodations.

All of these have helped Huochebang reach the current success.

The company currently publicizes about five million items of information about commodity sources on a daily basis, with average daily trade turnover standing at six billion yuan (903 million U.S. dollars). In 2015, the company helped bring down the rate of trucks without freight to 6 percent.

So far, more than two million drivers have registered on the platform, according to the company.

Riding on the success of the platform, Huochebang has set its eye on future expansion, perhaps overseas.

Luo Peng said the company will work with neighboring Yunnan Province to integrate commodity information in Southeast Asia.

"For a long time, Chinese truck drivers transporting from Yunnan to Southeast Asia could not find anything to carry when they returned to China due to language barriers, so we hope to help by sharing information," Luo said.

"Our goal is to create an industrial chain that not only includes publicizing commodity information, but also group purchasing of trucks, mortgage loans for second-hand truck trading, and truck insurance," said Dai Wenjian.

The company recently revealed plans to enter the new energy vehicle market, aiming to introduce its own green trucks in its industry chain, according to the local news portal

A 100-plus-member research team has been set up to create engines for the electric vehicles, while the company is trying to finance more than $300 million, the portal reported earlier this month.

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