August 29, 2017

What is GoGovan, Hong Kong’s first unicorn?

Hong Kong is finally home to its first unicorn: GoGovan, a startup focused on helping people hire cargo vans.

Unicorns are startups that are worth $1bn or more. China is home to several billion dollar startups, including Mobike, a bike-sharing startup.

However, the success in the mainland is starting to migrate over to Hong Kong, helped by the island’s proximity to China’s tech capital Shenzhen.

What is Gogovan?

GoGovan, was started by Steven Lam when he was 26-years-old and had recently graduated from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Lam launched the company in 2013 as a mobile app to help people on the island hire cargo vans to move furniture, goods and package delivery.

He believed that hiring a van was difficult for consumers and actual truck owners – so GoGovan aimed to make the process faster and easier.

The startup now has operations in 14 cities, funding by investors including Alibaba, which support startups in Hong Kong with the group’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

As well as being available in its native Hong Kong, you can find GoGovan in Australia, mainland China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. It now counts more than 180,000 registered drivers on its app.

Its popularity and investor support have helped the startup to fend off competition from the likes of Uber, which introduced its UberCargo option to Hong Kong back in 2015, and its major competitor Lalamove.

How did it reach unicorn status?

GoGovan has received its $1bn valuation off the back of a merger with 58 Suyun, the freight division of the mainland Chinese classified ads giant, 58 Home. This will create Asia’s largest online platform in the intra-city logistics and freight business.

Lam will remain as chief executive of the merged company. Speaking about the acquisition, he said:

The combined company will leverage 58 Suyun’s existing premium brand, large user base and online traffic for a quick expansion into 300 cities in mainland China.

Chen Xiaohua, founder and chief executive of 58 Home, will serve as the new company’s chairman. Chen said:

The merger lays the foundation for the combined company to become the global leader in intra-city freight services.

It looks like Hong Kong may is the next big tech city to keep an eye on in Asia.

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