China’s chauffeur booking app Ucar raises $568m, files to list on NEEQ

China-based mobile chauffeur booking app service Ucar Group, a subsidiary of Car Inc, has raised CNY 3.68 billion (about $568 million) in funding from affiliated funds under Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China International Capital Corp, CITIC Securities and Shenwan Hongyuan, with a valuation of RMB 28.7 billion.

The company has also filed to list on the country’s ‘New Third Board’, known as the National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ), which is said to cater to startups looking to go public. The IPO is scheduled for later this year.

At a press conference in Beijing, Charles Zhengyao Lu, the former CEO of Car Inc, which is a Chinese car rental firm, said that Alibaba does not currently own any shares in Ucar, having transferred its 9.8 per cent to two of its venture funds Yunfeng Capital and Yunling Capital.

As of April 11, Lu has resigned from his post as CEO of Car Inc, according to a filing, and will continue to serve the firm as chairman. Instead, Yifan Song has been appointed as the CEO. Jenny Zhiya Qian, previously the COO of the firm, has also stepped down, with Wilson Wei Li succeeding her as COO and CFO at the same time.

Lu has also been made CEO of Ucar, said the same filing, which also noted that he will abstain on resolutions concerning Ucar going forward.

Alibaba is a Chinese NASDAQ-listed Internet company, which has made several large investments recently, including an $1 billion injection of capital into Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce firm Lazada, and $1.25 billion with Ant Financial into online food delivery firm Ele.me. It is also a shareholder in vehicle hailing service Didi Kuaidi.

Launched in January 2015, Ucar has also signed a strategic partnership with Alibaba to work together in sectors including e-commerce, navigation technologies, and building of smart vehicles, it said on Monday.

Last month, Ucar secured a credit line of CNY 20 billion from Everbright Financial Leasing Co, an arm of China Everbright Group, to up its number of fleets that will be available for the next three years.

The company has also previously secured $250 million from private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC, Car Inc., Legend Holdings and others in a Series A round last July.

According to a filing, as of end-2015, Ucar reported an operating income of CNY 2.3 million, net profit of CNY 303 million, and total assets of CNY 171,637 million.

In terms of market share, consultancy firm Analysys International published a report noting that Didi Kuaidi owns 83.2 per cent of the market, with Uber coming in at 16.2 per cent and Ucar at 13.4 per cent, as of November 2015.

Car Inc, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, opened Friday morning at 8.93 HKD.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.