Date
18 January 2019
G7, a Tencent-backed fleet management company, has completed a new funding round, heating up a race to automate China’s logistics infrastructure. Photo: G7
G7, a Tencent-backed fleet management company, has completed a new funding round, heating up a race to automate China’s logistics infrastructure. Photo: G7

China’s G7 backed by Tencent, others in new funding round

Chinese fleet management services and Internet of Things (IoT) technology company G7 announced on Monday that it has completed a sizable funding round with the backing of HOPU Investments and some existing investors that included Tencent Holdings (00700.HK) and Bank of China Investment.

Among other investors participating in the US$320 million funding round were existing shareholder GLP and new investors China Broadband Capital, Intelligent Fund of Funds, Mount Morning Capital, Total Energy Ventures, and TH Capital.

Without disclosing its post-money valuation, G7 claims that in over a year, it has received around US$500 million of investment through multiple rounds, and that it has has become one of the most valuable IoT companies in the world.

The list of entities that have backed the firm include Singapore state investment firm Temasek, China Development Bank, and China Construction Bank.

The eight-year-old tech firm runs a proprietary connected platform for trucks, shippers, fleet managers and drivers, enabling real-time data for logistics companies and drivers on aspects such as location, route optimization, fuel consumption, and cargo status.

Together with industry partners, including the country’s emerging electrical vehicle maker NIO, G7 is developing an autonomous trucking network under the Inceptio Technology platform.

G7 president Julian Ma, who formerly served as a vice president at Tencent overseeing location-based services, search, and autonomous driving, said in the announcement: “Artificial intelligence in IoT is reinventing transportation and logistics equipment.” 

“Intelligent equipment and asset-as-a-service are the next big waves.”

In an interview with Chinese media in October, G7′s founder and CEO Xuehun Zhai said his firm will launch its first generation of smart connected trucks shortly. Outlining how his firm’s fleet management platform works, he explained that the company collects data from sensors installed in vehicles.

With the sensors and monitoring cameras, as well as the image recognition algorithm, the system is capable of identifying signs of driver fatigue or distraction.

When it is identified that a driver is tired, “the system can actively notify and intervene with the driver, with an aim to prevent and reduce fatigue-related accidents,” Zhai said.

The system can stop or brake the vehicle if the driver is detected snoring, he added. Further, G7 system is able to notify drivers before approaching accident black spots, “so that the driver can be cautious and slow down. Otherwise, G7 will slow down the vehicle.”

In addition, G7 platform matches the supply and demand ends with its AI algorithm, as well as offer “financial robot” feature, which automatically counts all costs and expenses for the logistics company to do comparison, settlement, and payment.

With an installation base of over 600,000 cargo vehicles throughout China, G7 has worked closely with its partners to build out connected networks for logistics and commercial vehicles, and other areas including the renewable energy sector.

As per information posted on its website, the company counts large heavyweight logistics providers such as DHL, FedEx, SF Express, EMS and Kerry Logistics (00636.HK), as well as e-commerce giants JD.com, Amazon China and Suning, as its clients. It bills itself as the world’s largest integrated fleet management platform.

“Based on IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence, the smart fleet model is fundamentally changing the way fleet operates and is forming a new generation of logistics infrastructure with much improved efficiency,” Zhai said in the press release Monday.

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BN/RC

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