Chehaoduo Group, parent company of Chinese online used car platform Guazi, announced on Thursday it raised $1.5 billion in a fresh round of funding from Softbank Vision Fund, the Japanese tech giant’s mega venture capital arm. This latest round values the company at $9 billion.
“Having leveraged the latest innovations in data-driven technology, Chehaoduo established China’s leading car trading platform through the Guazi brand,” Eric Chen, Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers said in announcement.
The Beijing-based startup secured $818 million in a Series C led by Chinese internet giant Tencent in March 2018. This was followed by another $162 million raised in a Series C+ round of financing seven months later. Backers so far include private equity firm IDG, Sequoia China, and Jack Ma’s YF Capital.
Previously known as Guazi, Chehaoduo began aggressively expanding its businesses to the offline market in 2017, opening over 600 storefronts across the country. It moved into the new car business in the same year by forming another brand, Maodou, simultaneously launching both online and offline channels.
The company planned to invest RMB 1.5 billion ($224 million) in its offline business in 2018, according to Chinese media reports, providing one-stop services to buyers for purchasing, maintaining, financing, and insuring their vehicles.
China’s used car market has seen a recent boom as consumers tighten their belts amid the economic slowdown. Sales volume in 2018 reached more than 13.8 million vehicles, growing 11.5% compared with a year earlier. New auto sales meanwhile declined in 2018 for the first time since 1990, decreasing 2.8% year-on-year to 28 million units, according to figures from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.