Hong Kong innovators

Lalamove raises US$30m to fund expansion in China and Southeast Asia

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 5:52pm

Hong Kong logistics start-up Lalamove has raised US$30 million to expand across more cities in China and Southeast Asia, as the company readies for a potential public listing within the next three years.

Lalamove is an on-demand logistics service that was founded in Hong Kong in 2013. Like Uber, users can hail a delivery van to help with tasks like home moving by placing an order on the Lalamove app.

Lalamove’s latest funding round was led by Beijing venture capital firm Xianghe Capital. Participating investors include Blackhole Capital, MindWorks Ventures and Crystal Stream. The round takes Lalamove’s total funding to date to US$60 million.

Apart from Hong Kong, the start-up is currently operating in 40 Chinese cities, as well as Singapore, Manila, Bangkok and Taipei.

Lalamove hopes to expand to 60 more cities by the end of 2017, and operate in all “first-and second-tier cities and a number of economically viable third-tier cities in China, as well as major cities in Southeast Asia”, Lalamove chief executive Shing Chow said in a statement earlier this week. Chow founded Lalamove, previously known as Easyvan, in October 2013 at the age of 36.

“Logistics is a big market – a US$1.7 trillion market in China – and it accounts for up to 27 per cent of GDP for some countries in Southeast Asia. It is underpenetrated by mobile internet,” Chow said.

Blake Larson, managing director for Lalamove’s international operations, said in an interview with technology news site TechCrunch that the start-up was close to being profitable and is considering going public within the next two or three years.

“Several of our cities are profitable, we are cash flow positive and we will be profitable by the end of the year,” Larson was quoted as saying.

“We know we have a model that works, it’s not a matter of if we list but when ... we’re in a financial position that we could list in two or two and a half years.”

Lalamove already has 500,000 drivers on its app, and 5 million registered customers, the company said. Its largest rival is Hong Kong-based GoGoVan, which offers similar services to users.

GoGoVan is also aggressively expanding throughout Asia, and already has operations in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and some cities in China.

Uber launched its UberVan services in Hong Kong in 2015, but ceased operations of its logistics service in August last year as it sought to focus on its core ride-sharing business in the city.