Hong Kong logistics startup Lalamove enters India

January 23, 2019 13:38
Lalamove's fleet of delivery vehicles is specific to the local geography.  Motorcycles are important because they can move in and out of traffic in highly congested streets. Photo: Lalamove

Hong Kong logistics startup Lalamove is expanding its on-demand delivery services to India, Tech in Asia reports, citing Blake Larson, the company's managing director (international). 

The move follows its fast expansion into Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. 

Larson said Lalamove will soon roll out its services in Mumbai, promising an average delivery time of less than 55 minutes to any point in the city. 

The company was founded in 2013 by Chow Shing Yuk, a former professional poker player. It was then called EasyVan. 

The "Uber for logistics" startup connects customers and drivers through a desktop and mobile app-based platform with features such as instant order matching and GPS vehicle tracking. 

From its home base in Hong Kong, Lalamove has branched out into Southeast Asia and mainland China. As of July 2017, the firms said its platform had over 15 million users and its operations were supported by more than 2 million drivers.  

In June 2018, Lalamove ventured into Malaysia, testing its services in Kuala Lumpur. 

In an interview with Forbes in late 2017, Larson revealed that small- and medium-sized businesses account for 97 percent of the firm’s business, counting large brands like IKEA and Burger King as its clients. It also partnered with mobile messaging platform LINE to offer food and parcel delivery services in Thailand. 

Lalamove regards its motorcycle delivery operation as an important aspect of its expansion in Southeast Asia, where traffic congestion makes two-wheel vehicles more convenient for delivery services.

The startup has so far raised US$161 million in disclosed funding, according to data from Crunchbase, and its investors include China’s Crystal Stream, Xianghe Capital, MindWorks Ventures, and Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital.

Chow, the founder and chief executive, said in a press conference in January 2017 that his company is aiming to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong in the "next two years".

Lalamove’s main rival is GoGoVan, which merged with mainland-based peer 58 Suyun in 2017 and became Hong Kong's first homegrown "unicorn", i.e., a privately held startup valued at over US$1 billion.

Alibaba-backed GoGoVan has rapidly expanded its presence in the region, covering Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and over 300 cities in mainland China. The company entered the Indian market in 2016.

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