Hong Kong logistics unicorn Lalamove unveils foray into the US
Lalamove, an on-demand logistics service provider operating in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America, has officially entered the US seven years after it started.
With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping millions of Americans at home, Hong Kong-based Lalamove believes it can meet the growing demand for delivery services in the country. The company is making its debut in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, a major hub for sales and logistics in the US The service will be rolled out in Chicago and Houston in a few days.
The startup was one of the first in Hong Kong to hit the unicorn rating mark of $ 1 billion alongside arch rival GoGoVan. The business is diverse and highly localized, but essentially acts as an Uber for businesses and individuals who need to move goods around town.
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In China, where it is known as Huolala (货 拉拉), it mainly serves as an intermediary between shippers who need to send cargo and a network of truck drivers. In Southeast Asia, the business works similarly with the addition of food for restaurants, a crowded and cash-burning room. In the US, the fleet of sedans, SUVs, and pickups is available 24/7 to target catering, retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, and construction customers with fees starting at $ 8.90.
“Delivery is essential, especially during the pandemic. Many local companies do not have or cannot afford their own fleets. We're excited to be working with companies in the Dallas Fort-Worth area to deliver on-demand same-day delivery services to their customers, ”said Blake Larson, International General Manager at Lalamove and former co-founder of the Asia-focused email startup Easy Taxi from Rocket Internet.
Like GoGoVan, Lalamove was founded by a US-trained entrepreneur from Hong Kong. Both companies have received funding from heavyweight institutions in China and other countries.
Lalamove's investors included Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital China and Shunwei Capital, the founder of Xiaomi. Due to the merger with China's 58 Suyun, GoGoVan Tencent, Alibaba, KKR and New Horizon Capital are among its supporters.
The Hong Kong startup's global expansion comes at a time when TikTok stumbles in the US due to its connections to China. In the case of the logistics startup, a Chinese team runs the Chinese Huolala division, while, according to TechCrunch, separate international teams manage Lalamove's overseas segments. The core of TikTok's challenge in the US is the video app's dependence on the technological capabilities of the Chinese parent company ByteDance.
To date, Lalamove has verified and brought on board more than 500 partner drivers in Dallas Fort-Worth. Another 500 are to be added in the region by the end of this year. It is also hiring for its regional operations office at a time when the US is facing widespread virus-related layoffs, vacations, and a hiring slowdown.
According to Lalamove, it has so far brought together more than 7 million users with a pool of over 700,000 delivery partners in 22 markets around the world.
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