Used car sector motors into a modern era
The introduction of big data and artificial intelligence has helped resolve the perennial credibility problems of the used car market, providing more opportunities for the sector, analysts said last month.
“There is huge growth potential in China’s used car market,” said Zhao Xiang, a transportation analyst at Beijing-based Analysys, a market research house.
“With the rapid development of the market and the increase of assessment techniques, consumers’ expectations of a used car are continuously rising,” said Zhao Xiang, a transportation analyst at Analysys.
While the market is growing rapidly, credit issues have always acted as a brake on the development of the used car market.
In response, players have introduced big data and artificial intelligence to reduce the various transaction risks, the biggest of which are problems with credit.
Guazi.com, China’s biggest used car trading platform, said that in order to address credit issues, it has developed a database using big data and artificial intelligence.
Chief Technology Officer Zhang Xiaopei said the database stores information on more than 3.5 million cars and from 200 million buyers and sellers. In addition, it includes a huge amount of third party data, about the maintenance and repair history of the cars.
“With the database, the information on used cars as well as buyers and sellers is more transparent, which has greatly increased transaction security,” Zhang said.
He said that with the help of the database, the car trading platform’s transaction vol- umes had grown by 700 percent last year.
Guazi.com recently announced over $400 million in Series B financing from global investors, making it one of the biggest fundraisings this year among Chinese internet companies.
The capital will be used for developing new business lines and increasing brand awareness, as well as developing the skills base of the company’s staff.
The new round of financing is being led by existing investor Sequoia Capital, a leading venture capital firm. Matrix Partners China, Blue Run Ventures and Hike Capital increased their investment.
Other participating investors include H Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, China Merchants Bank and Shougang Group. China’s leading boutique investment bank, TH Capital, was the exclusive financial advisor
checks a second-hand car at an automobile trading company in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.
on the deal.
“In order to transform the traditional industry, we also need to depend on online techniques. Guazi.com will continue to improve our business and service by knowing more about customer behavior through our data analysis,” said Guazi.com founder and CEO Mark Yang.
The company has created a database of over 3.5 million cars and over 200 million potential customers. Powered by artificial intelligence, Guazi.com is making it faster and easier for consumers to buy and sell used cars through predictive pricing and enhanced knowledge of customer preferences.
Steven Ji, a partner of Sequoia Capital China, said that Guazi.com is leading the development and evolution of the industry, and has major growth potential.
The country’s stress on environmental protection and demand for clean energy also brought opportunities for the expansion of Ecolab’s China business, he said.
Ecolab China’s factories are located in southern and eastern areas of the country. “Food safety is closely linked to the dairy industry. And China’s northern region produces most of the dairy products,” he said.
So, the company is planning to set up a production base in northern China, but no specific city has yet been shortlisted, he said.
Ecolab’s technology platform can monitor every procedure of food and beverage production, control the amount of cleaning water and measure the cleaning effect. Collection of such data can help improve efficiency, reduce the cost of energy and water for different companies, he said.
“Though the growth rate of the Chinese economy has slowed, it’s still growing at a moderate pace,” he said. “We focus on providing solutions for problems of food safety and shortage of water resources in China, which have both realized a stable and fast growth by now.”
The past two years saw double-digit growth in the food safety business in China, he said. And the company’s global sales reached $13 billion in 2016.
The parent’s market value rose to $36 billion last year, he said.
Ecolab’s local unit was set up in 1975. Its cleaning and disinfection methods have been used in most of the five-star restaurants and more than 80 percent of food brands, including McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks in China, Wang said.
The company has identified certain areas to focus on in future, he said. Ecolab China would apply its technical strength to solve difficult problems in waste water treatment, such as the removal of phosphate and heavy metals.
With the World Economic Forum’s Summer Davos convention in Dalian in June laying emphasis on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Ecolab is also eyeing digitalization as a new growth point, Wang said.
The company will set aside $200 million every year for research to explore application of technologies like industrial digitalization, automatic control and big data in food safety.
A customer (left)