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Mobile app Yunmanman set to become Didi of cargo firms

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-14 08:21

BEIJING - Mobile app Yunmanman, or YMM, is looking to shake up the logistics sector in China by becoming the Didi of cargo companies.

In just three years, YMM, owned by Jiangsu Manyun Software Technology Co Ltd, has redefined the land-based logistics scene in China, having connected businesses requiring cargo delivery with 78 percent of the nation's heavy truck drivers in more than 350 cities.

Founded in 2013 by Zhang Hui and around five co-founders including Miao Tianye, the app has reduced average waiting time for cargo drivers from 2.27 days to 0.38 days and facilitates about 240,000 transport deals every day.

Miao, who is the president of Manyun Software Technology, said that the app has also helped reduce carbon emissions by 70 million tons and gasoline expenses by 130 billion yuan ($18.97 billion) between 2015 and 2016.

"As a group of people without any logistics background, we were drawn to the offline road transportation sector because it can generate several trillion yuan in revenue simply through face-to-face trades," said Miao, who had formerly worked at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for eight years.

"YMM is quite similar to Alibaba's e-commerce platform Taobao. Today, we have connected more than 850,000 cargo owners to over 3.9 million heavy truck drivers around China."

Previously, heavy truck drivers waited in industrial parks for assignments which were simply scribbled on a small blackboard. But this was not the only example of inefficiency in the industry-data from China's Ministry of Commerce showed that there is a 37 percent chance that drivers are travelling with no load, which is a waste of time and fuel.

"In the coming years, YMM will be looking to develop an intelligent automation system, which takes only 38 seconds to match cargo to a driver with an accuracy rate of 99 percent. The system takes 1.2 seconds to determine a price and is 98.4 percent accurate. The system can also help boost scheduling efficiency to 95 percent and increase the income of drivers by 20 percent," said Miao.

The benefits that YMM provided drivers, however, was not readily accepted. Miao said that the company sent more than 2,000 people to industrial parks around the country to promote the app, only to have many return with bruises inflicted by annoyed drivers who were resistant to change. Some of these marketers even had their phones confiscated.

"Any change to a business model that has been around for decades will be extremely difficult to accept," said Miao.

Despite the challenges, the team at YMM soldiered on and eventually grew the business revenue to 450 billion yuan in 2016. The company has a presence in three cities-its headquarters are located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, while its research and development facility and marketing center are based in Shanghai and Beijing respectively.

Besides connecting drivers with cargo owners, YMM also rolled out a credit system to boost transparency and ensure that both parties honor their contracts. Offenders with low credit ratings are placed on a blacklist that prohibits them from using the app.

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