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International logistics transaction platform YunLian 运链 has completed a USD10 million Series A2 financing from lead-investor Ameba Capital and co-investor Haina Asia SIG.
After this round of financing, YunLian will focus on improving the efficiency of information exchange between the merchants and logistics provider with the new ERP+OA system. The ERP (Enterprise resource planning) system allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many backend functions while the OA (office automation) system collects, stores and manipulates office data digitally, to accomplish basic tasks and goals. transaction efficiency will be greatly improved, thereby reducing the cost of multi-party communication. Their self-built big data center will help solve the lack of data on international logistics tracking.
YunLian was founded in August 2015. In its early stage, they established a yellow page for logistics providers of various ports, which then developed into an online international logistics transactions platform to support enterprise to perform online transactions. These two developments have constructed a solid foundation for the current platform.
At present, the scope of their operations covers sea, air, rail, LCL, and booking cabins, and has more than 10 offices in eight major ports in China and overseas. According to founder Zhu Zhengyu, the platform’s revenue this year will exceed 500 million RMB, and the annual container volume is about 300,000.
There are many opportunities that have emerged from international logistics and cross-border trade. According to data, China’s international trade GDP was about 24 trillion RMB last year, and the logistics cost accounted for about 15% (3 trillion RMB). Logistic costs from China alone has taken up a quarter of the global logistic costs combined
Domestic logistics mainly solves the issue of getting the right vehicle and warehouse, but the trillion-dollar market of international logistics is much more complicated. For example:
- It is difficult to form a closed loop transaction. The supply chain and time needed for delivery are long because it involves many related parties, such as customs, shipowners, port areas, warehouses, trailers, customs brokers, etc.
- International logistics is usually subject to payments in USD, thus payment settlements between different currencies are restrained;
- The infrastructure for an efficient exchange of information between parties is weak
In the past two years, Yun Lian has integrated multiple related parties and banks to bring international logistics services online. This solves pain points of international logistics parties such as logistics companies, factories, and traders. Firstly, a transaction can be done easily in three steps on the platform: information inquiry, order transactions, and online settlement. At present, the daily page view of the platform reaches 1.5 million, and the number of daily active merchants exceeds 170,000.
Currently, they will focus on information optimization. Zhu calls this the 3.0 phase which will further enhance the platform’s transactions efficiency and user experience. Zhu said that YunLian has caught up with the new information industry. In the past two years, infrastructure operators (terminals and customs) in the industry are becoming more efficient in the exchange of information, promoting paperless and electronic logistics. He believes that there will be a breakthrough in international logistics.
In addition to improvements of the existing transactions/inquiry platform, Yun Lian has begun to streamline the shipping process and will launch:
- The ERP+OA operating system, expected to be launched in Jan next year, allows companies to simultaneously manage internal records and cross-company transactions. In addition to the domestic market, it will focus on ASEAN countries such as Thailand.
- Together with the operating system – the launch of their big data center will help enterprises to analyze and produce visualized business data, and will intuitively track the whole international supply chain network
- At the end of this month, it will officially launch the industry blockchain services to solve the lack of trust mechanism and transactions friction in international logistics transactions.
The revenue sources include transactions commissions and from their self-developed products, technical service fees for the ERP+OA operating system, service fees for the database open API interface as well as a cut of the financial services needed.
Zhu believes that in a B2B platform, customer acquisition relies heavily on word of mouth. The product itself is the core of the company’s competitiveness and thus will put more focus on product development. The previous 2.0 development was limited by resources, as they were building on both the system and sales. The next development phase will include the launch of the ERP+OA system, transactions platform, data collaboration and blockchain services for both PCs and mobile.