Cathay Cartech Fund invests in the innovative used car platform, YouCKU, to drive the digital transformation and increase the liquidity of the second hand car market in China

November 27, 2020

The Cathay Cartech Fund recently announced the successful completion of a Series B minority equity investment in YouCKU, an emerging leader in the used car platform segment based in Shenzhen, China. The company uses its digital and data science capabilities to help OEMs, car leasing and rental companies achieve efficient and largescale liquidity in used cars. Thanks to the additional funds, and with the help of its new partners at the Cathay Cartech fund, YouCKU will accelerate its R&D and scale up its activities across China.

Since 2018, auto companies in China have suffered from growing inventory backlogs and increasing demand for capital investment in NEV. In responding to the decline in new car sales and overcapacity, they have tried to shift their business strategy by adjusting prices and operating rental businesses. All the above highlights the growing importance of used car liquidity. In China, the traditional used car trading model has been inefficient. They are usually traded at small scale and providers are scattered across the country, which translates into expensive procurement costs. In the meantime, emerging online trading platforms have all focused-on BToC business models in the past few years. However, unstable sourcing quality and huge online marketing expenses constantly impede the sector.

YouCKU was established in 2015 to cope with the current dilemma of used car liquidity in China. The company uses digital tools to upgrade existing business processes, to cultivate institutional car sources, and to build a B2B-oriented second hand distribution platform. In parallel, YouCKU takes the lead in deploying its innovative data-driven management business in China, providing OEMs and travel companies with residual value based automotive management services, a stable high-quality source, and efficient transactional services. Thanks to its services, standardization is enabled at all stages of the lifecycle, and its scale improves circulation efficiency. This business innovation not only provides new impetus for increased liquidity in used cars, but also provides a cutting edge platform for traditional Chinese car finance products.

YouCKU currently provides its comprehensive services for the Top 10 car rental companies and for almost all OEMs in the market, including eHi Car Rental, Shouqi Car-hailing, FAW Travel, Guangzhou Automotive Leasing, Dongfeng Peugeot, Beijing Hyundai, FAW-Volkswagen, SAIC Volkswagen, etc. Its services cover more than 243 cities across the country, with thousands of franchises and many active secondhand auction platforms in the network.

YouCKU has 3 key service offerings:

  1. Repurchasing service: Based on a self-developed big data system and tens of thousands of disposal channels all over China, it provides institutional car owners with new car purchase consultation, long-term residual value forecast, and lock-in repurchase services.
  2. Basic service for vehicle liquidity: YouCKU has established delivery centers in more than 80 cities across the country, and its disposal channel partners are based in more than 250 cities. Its vehicle reallocation network includes more than 400 cities and most regions, basically achieving national coverage.
  3. Transaction service: YouCKU has partnered with tens of thousands of royal disposal channel partners to facilitate used car transactions.

Founder Tianshi  SHEN emphasises how sourcing the cars is core for the development of a used car platform. YouCKU tackled this issue by going upstream at the very start of used car liquidity. It uses its digital capability throughout the used car liquidity lifecycle to connect various players on the value chain, thus enabling more efficient and higher quality used car trading in China.

Maoxiang (John) LI, Partner of the Cathay Cartech Fund, said: “The used car market has been trapped in the “Impossible Triangle” for a long time. Profitability, scale and quality could not be balanced. YouCKU has broken this “Impossible Triangle”. The company’s business has achieved exponential growth in the past few years. At the same time, it is constantly expanding its partnership network. The trading volume has also continued to rise. There are few companies that have positive cash flows and achieve rapid growth in the current red sea of the used car market in China. We are very optimistic about the team’s and the company’s future and we look forward to proving the viability of China’s used car market.”