Renrenche gets $200 million US from Didi Chuxing

25 Sep 2017

Renrenche (人人车), one of China’s leading c-to-c used-auto platforms, reportedly secured $200 million U.S. in funding from ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行). At the time of writing, neither side had indicated for how much the investment valued Renrenche.

The investment was a big win for Renrenche – not so much for the dollar amount as for backer. Didi Chuxing – valued at around $50 billion U.S. – brings a huge user base and plenty of opportunities for “synthesis” with the used-auto platform. Renrenche reportedly will be rolling out a version of its transaction services within the Didi Chuxing app, tapping directly into a massive user base.

Renrenche CEO Li Jian 李健 commented on the possibilities: “Didi’s investment will deliver to us 400 million users and 17 million drivers, for a used-auto platform this is not only the largest user base, but also the most targeted one.” 

Renrenche’s series C round, led by tech giant Tencent in August 2016, valued the platform at $500 million U.S. The company’s September 2016 Series D funding round, led by Prometheus Capital and China Minsheng, was worth a further $150 million U.S..    

Since then, little has been done to brake optimism in the Chinese used-auto market. The China Automobile Deals Association estimates that by 2020, the number of second-hand cars traded will equal that of new-car sales at 29.2 million.

The three biggest names in the c-to-c sector – Guazi.com (瓜子二手车), Uxin (优信二手车) and Renrenche (人人车) – have failed to separate themselves conclusively from one another over the past year, while spending freely on advertising in the process. 

Last year, Guazi and Renrenche spent 1 billion RMB ($150 million U.S.) and 500 million RMB, respectively, on celebrity branding, according to China Money Network.  

As such, there is little to suggest that Renrenche’s valuation should be that much higher than it was a year ago, although the company is denying that the $200 million investment will constitute a controlling share. Didi Chuxing has yet to comment on the matter. 

Renrenche handles more than 200,000 transactions annually, across 300 cities.

Despite the vote of confidence from Didi, Renrenche is still being squeezed hard by 58.com-backed Guazi, which has begun to eke out a lead in c-to-c according to several third-party analytics platforms.

In July, Guazi secured $400 million U.S. in Series B financing. The round was led by Sequoia Capital China. New participating investors in the round were H Capital, CMB International, Jingxin Venture Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, as well as existing investors Matrix Partners China and BlueRun Ventures. 

What’s more, financing and financial leasing-led platforms Taoche.com (backed by Tencent and Bitauto, among others) and Tangeche.com (Souche.com), introduced even greater competition into the used-auto sector in general with their recent growth.

In November 2016, RenRenChe announced that it would achieve profitability across its various businesses in 2017, which include transactions, financing, and aftersales services.

At that time, the company disclosed that financing accounted for 22 percent of its revenue. The company has committed several hundred employees to financing, working in concert with credit agencies, such as 100Credit.com and the controversial social-credit scoring system Sesame Credit.  

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Tom Marling

Tom is a PhD candidate in Chinese History at Hong Kong Baptist University, and former PR consultant in Mainland China. He joined the AIM Group in 2016 as a writer/analyst.