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China’s ‘Uber of trucks’ Manbang raises $1.9 B from SoftBank, Google’s Capital G, and others

Spandan Sharma
26th Apr 2018
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The Manbang Group, the Chinese truck-hailing company often referred to as the “Uber of trucks” in China, announced yesterday, April 24, that it had raised $1.9 billion in funding in a round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund and the China Reform Fund, a private equity firm backed by China Reform Holdings Corporation Ltd and other central state-owned enterprises. Manbang, formally called the Full Truck Alliance Group, was formed last November by the merger of two rival Chinese trucking firms – Yunmanman and Huochebang – and connects shippers with truck drivers, while also providing an after-service platform which covers truck fuel, auto insurance, auto financing, and other services. This is Manbang’s first fundraising round.

Dongfeng dump truck in China. Manbang runs a platform that connects shippers with truckers across China. (Image: By Anton Nossik (China by Arseny Popov) [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons)

Manbang covers the vast majority of China’s sprawling goods transport and haulage industry, with 5.2 million of the 7 million trucks driving on China’s major roadways and 1.2 million of the country’s 1.5 million logistics firms using the platform. In a statement, Manbang said that it would use the money raised from the round to expand research and development into new energy and autonomous driving solutions, as well expansion into markets beyond China. Wang Gang, President of Manbang, said the firm aims to use about $1.27 billion of the funding amount to hire new talent, including the possibility of acquiring other companies to attract top talent.

This is the latest in a series of investments by SoftBank, which has invested over $15 billion in various companies around the world in 2018 alone, including $28 million in mobile games startup Caret Games, €460 million in German car marketplace Auto1, the famous $9.3 billion investment in Uber, $1 billion in healthcare management platform Ping An, $50 million in selfie app Snow, $865 million in construction app Katerra, $300 million in dog-walking service Wag, $535 million in delivery startup DoorDash, $62 million in grocery delivery company Grofers, $445 million in Paytm, and others.

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