Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners announced on Friday that it has formed a joint venture (JV) with Chinese delivery firm Manbang Group to develop smart logistics properties and facilities across China.
Gaw Capital, which has over 15 years of experience investing in various mixed-use and commercial properties in Greater China, is joining hands with the mainland player to cash in on China’s massive logistics market.
China’s logistics market accounts for about 20 per cent of the industry globally, and the country is expected to remain as the world’s largest road transportation market in the next five years, according to McKinsey. The country’s scale of truckload transportation amounted to 3 trillion yuan ($449.7 billion) in 2019.
“The rise of the consumer class — helped by increasing disposable incomes, in addition to continued upgrades of telecommunication technology like 5G — is leading to a new wave of demand for logistics, not only in Tier-1 cities, but also in emerging cities in China,” said Humbert Pang, managing principal and head of China at Gaw Capital, in a statement.
“Given the long-term market inefficiencies and segmentation characteristics of China’s logistics industry, Manbang acts as an innovative pioneer that has built a data-backed ecosystem using artificial intelligence algorithms for comprehensive freight services that make the logistics industry more intelligent and efficient,” said Pang.
“The tech-supported smart logistics platform will further strengthen Gaw Capital’s competitiveness in China’s logistics market,” he added.
Through the launch of the JV, Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital plans to leverage its expertise in investment underwriting, financing, and development management to grow the new venture, while Manbang Group will provide support for site identification and subsequent operation management.
Manbang Group, a Guizhou, China-based Uber-like freight service that helps connect truck drivers with shippers via its mobile app, was created in 2017 through the merger of two domestic truck-matching platforms, Huochebang and Yunmanman.
The firm operates as a one-stop logistics portal that serves China’s highly segmented truck-hailing market, apart from providing value-added services that cover auto financing, truck energy, insurance, truck sales, and more.
It currently has over five million certified cargo owners and nine million certified truck drivers, contributing over 700 billion yuan ($104.9 million) in gross merchandise value (GMV) annually.
Zhang Hui, CEO of Manbang Group, said in the same statement: “Manbang Group will rely on its own technological advantages to empower the JV platform to better serve the various demands of small to medium-sized enterprises in the logistics industry.”
Gaw Capital runs in-house asset management operating platforms in retail, hospitality, property development, logistics and Internet data centre (IDC). Its investments span the entire spectrum of real estate sectors, including residential development, offices, retail malls, hospitality, logistics warehouses, and IDC projects.
The firm has raised six commingled funds targeting Greater China and the Asia Pacific regions since 2005. It manages value-add/opportunistic funds in Vietnam and the US, a Pan-Asia hospitality fund, a European hospitality fund, and also provides services for separate account direct investments globally.
It has raised equity of $15.6 billion since 2005 and commands assets of $26.7 billion under management as of Q2 2020.