On November 1st, 2017, SouChe (literally meaning Search Car in Chinese) announced that it has closed its Series E funding round led by Alibaba with participation from Warburg Pincus, Primavera Capital and CMB International. This round is less than 12 months from the $100 million Series C round in November 2016 led by Ant Financial, and less than 6 months from the $180 million Series D round in April 2017 led by Warburg Pincus. Cygnus Equity was the sole financial advisor to SouChe for this round.
After this round of financing, Alibaba will become the biggest institutional investor for SouChe. The two companies will deepen their existing cooperation by sharing more resources and developing more business together. Devoted to building a leading new retail and new finance platform for automotive industry in China, SouChe aims to consolidate its extensive offline retail channels with Alibaba’s unparalleled online resources and to jointly build a seamless automobile new retail platform, which is expected to improve efficiency for car sales by taking full advantage of internet and big data. This will be a revolutionary move in the fields of auto distribution and consumption. In the meantime, SouChe will strengthen cooperation with its strategic investor Ant Financial in the area of new finance to develop innovative financing products and services by utilizing Ant Financial’s strong data and risk control capacities, as a result, to meet consumers’ growing needs for financial services.
“The value strategic investors such as Alibaba brings to the company is far beyond funding support. More importantly, SouChe will benefit from the investors’ cultural recognition, strategic collaboration, complementary resources as well as the shared vision for promoting the development of the industry.” Said Junhong Yao, Founder and CEO of SouChe. “Based on the experience in Chinese automotive industry, we think that auto dealers will continuously play an important role in the business chain of the auto market, and it’s crucial for them to upgrade internet capacities and improve services. SouChe has already enabled new car and used car dealers to go digital by providing them with its unique SaaS systems, which have connected over 110,000 car dealerships in China, or over 60% of the market. Our platform booked transaction value of RMB60 billion in 2016, and RMB91.5 billion in the first 9 months of 2017. The projected transaction value booked in 2017 will be approximately RMB150 billion. By collaborating with Ant Financial and Alibaba Group in offline channels, online e-commerce and data-based risk control, SouChe is on the fast track towards building a comprehensive ecosystem of new retail and new finance for the automotive industry.”
The essence of new retail is to increase efficiency in sales transactions by using internet and big data, and the cooperation between Alibaba and SouChe will create a comprehensive ecosystem which will benefit all parties in the business from manufacturers to dealers to consumers. It is expected that the entire auto business including distribution, consumption, services and even manufacturing will be brought to a new level once the online and offline channels are well connected. At present, SouChe’s business has already integrated some of Alibaba’s main business units including Tmall Car and Alipay, which lays a solid foundation for further mutual collaboration.
TanGeChe, SouChe’s product co-developed with Ant Financial, has become an innovative example of new retail and new finance in Chinese automotive industry. It not only invented a new model of car purchase, but also created additional values by connecting manufacturing, sales, logistics, insurance and after-sale services. As of today, TanGeChe has already covered 1,700 dealers in over 200 cities and established collaboration with more than 20 major auto manufacturers.
“We hope SouChe’s partnerships with Alibaba and Ant Financial will create an exciting future for Chinese automotive industry,” Yao concluded.