Dishangtie Has a Truck with Investors
COVID-19 and China
DST-branded cars. Image credit: Dishangtie official website.

New energy vehicle rental service platform Dishangtie Car Rental (DST, 地上铁) closed its Series B worth USD 70 million on June 10. This round of financing was led by Jeneration Capital; Far East Horizon and Idinvest Partners also took part in the event, while Index Capital played the role of a financial advisor. According to the company officials, the money raised will be used to further improve the quality of the urban services, boost operational efficiency and enhance the service network density.

Prior to this funding round, the Shenzhen-based company has raised more than CNY 650 million (USD 94 million) from a number of top-notch capital managers such as Qiming Venture Partners, Matrix Partners China and Bojiang Capital Management Group. It is important to stress that the list of investors completely changed this time: the existing backers didn't enlarge their stake in the startup.

DST is a 2B company that is focused on providing rental services. Its fleet comprises electric vehicles only. According to its official website, there are 13 different auto models in the four categories for both the short-term and long-term lease. Besides, the firm operates as a full-service platform, providing core facilities (such as charging piles) maintenance, insurance, routine repairs and other auxiliary services.

As of June 2019, DST-branded vans and trucks can be met in 22 large cities across China, and the company is planning an expansion to the seven new urban areas countrywide in the short term. However, the charging ecosystem is still undeveloped, spanning only the 'Pearl River mega-city' and Chengdu -- a fast-growing city in Sichuan province. 

China is the largest electric-vehicle market with more than 1 million EVs sold in 2018. The industry is expected to keep on growing rapidly, ignited by both objective (tech improvement) and subjective (state support) forces. As for the transportation market in China, it is, indeed, a nascent field, and the room for growth is huge. In the near future, Dishangtie might consider breaking into other financially sound regions such as the Yangtze River Delta Economic Region or Bohai Economic Rim.

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