CBD self-storage service targets China's large cities

March 01, 2018 12:45
Alan Tso, founder of self-storage startup CBD, said the service allows customers to access and manage their storage units via the WeChat platform. Photo: HKEJ/China Mini Storage

In crowded cities where time and space are a luxury, tech-enhanced self-storage services offer residents much convenience and good value for money.

Alan Tso, a former real estate investment professional, has established CBD, which integrates storage service with China’s most popular messaging platform WeChat.

The startup focuses on first-tier cities in the mainland, where there is a large population and storage space is scarce.

Tso, who has been living in Beijing since 2008, opened the first storage facility in the capital in August 2014. It has now grown to 18 self-storage facilities, with a capacity of over 15,000 cubic meters across prime areas in Beijing and Shanghai.

Leveraging on mobile technology, CBD allows customers to access and manage their storage units online via mobile web or by visiting the company’s official WeChat account.

The service allows customers to store and retrieve items in their rented units 24/7. It also allows real-time monitoring of customer usage and tracking of facility conditions.

In May 2017, the company received US$28 million from InfraRED NF, a Hong Kong-based joint venture between InfraRed Capital Partners and property developer Nan Fung Group.

Tso said the company is set for expansion in first-tier coastal cities in southern China in mid-2018 at the earliest.

However, Tso said he has no plans to penetrate Hong Kong, where he is born, as he believes the market for storage service in the city is relatively mature and saturated, while the mainland market, fueled by the country's large population and growing mobile adoption, still has high potential.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 1

Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal