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CARS gets $818m in new round of funding

By CHENG YU | | Updated: 2018-03-02 20:48
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CARS, China's largest used car dealer, said on Thursday that it has raised $818 million in its latest round of financing, as the company accelerates to expand its businesses in the face of mounting competition from local rivals including

The firm's single round of financing hit a record high among the country's car retailers, after the company raised around $600 million in October and integrated its used-car and new-car businesses — Guazi and Maodou — last year.

Guazi offers one-stop services for used cars — buying, selling, renting, fixing and insuring — thereby meeting almost any need of customers for such vehicles, while Maodou focuses on the leasing and renting of new cars.

"In the past two years, we have been exploring and innovating business models to suit the Chinese market. We have expanded our services to both online and offline, for both used cars and new cars, and from pre-sales and after-sales to cover the lifecycle of cars," said Yang Haoyong, CEO of CARS.

Yang noted that expanding scales and bolstering businesses will be top priorities, and said the new financing will be mainly used to strengthen Guazi's takeover in the offline market and Maodou's scale development.

According to the company, the financing is led by internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Newly added investors include ICBC International Holdings Ltd, Yunfeng Capital and IDG Capital.

Yu Mu, senior analyst from Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys, said: "CARS, including Guazi and Maodou, placed a large number of advertisements in the past, which as a result helped them raise public recognition."

"With more investments plugging in, the company will have more abundant funds to strengthen advertising and offline expansion to further bolster trade efficiency and users' loyalty."

China's used car sector has long been biding its time but is switching into the fast lane in the past year. The latest data from the China Auto Dealers Association showed that a total of 12 million used cars were sold last year, an increase of 19 percent year-on-year.

"China is the world's largest car consumption market and has huge potential in car consumption finance. We look high to the leading companies like CARS in their abilities of managing both car trades and risk management of big data finance," said Gao Dong, executive vice president at ICBC International Holdings Ltd.

The Beijing-based company also said that it will increase investments in research and development and applications of advanced technologies including big data, artificial intelligence and intelligent hardware this year.

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