Tencent-backed fleet manager G7 racks up $320M in funding

A sizable funding round is poised to heat up a race to automate China’s logistics infrastructure. Beijing-based fleet management company G7 announced on Monday that it has banked $320 million to drive technological development, bringing its total capital raised to around $500 million. G7, which runs a proprietary connected platform for trucks, shippers, fleet manager and […]

A sizable funding round is poised to heat up a race to automate China’s logistics infrastructure. Beijing-based fleet management company G7 announced on Monday that it has banked $320 million to drive technological development, bringing its total capital raised to around $500 million.

G7, which runs a proprietary connected platform for trucks, shippers, fleet manager and drivers, received the proceeds from lead investor HOPU Investments, one of the most high-profile private equity firms in China.

Other participants included new investors China Broadband Capital, Intelligent Fund of Funds, Mount Morning Capital, Total Energy Ventures and TH Capital, who are joined by existing investors GLP, Bank of China Investment and Tencent.

G7 claims that its latest funding round marks the highest among Internet of Things startups worldwide. The eight-year-old company declined to disclose its post-money valuation but says the fresh injection makes it one of the most valuable IoT companies in the world.

“Artificial intelligence in IoT is reinventing transportation and logistics equipment. Intelligent equipment and asset-as-a-service are the next big waves,” says G7 president Julian Ma, who formerly served as a vice president at Tencent overlooking location-based services, search, and autonomous driving for five years.

G7 has worked closely with its partners to build out connected networks serving everything from logistics, commercial vehicles, energy to payments. For instance, it’s joined hands with strategic investor NIO, a Chinese electric carmaker, on a trucking network. It’s also leveraging the global network of Total Energy Ventures, a French venture capital firm focused on the renewable energy sector.

Together, G7 claims to reach 60,000 customers and 800,000 commercial vehicles worldwide while 85 percent of China’s biggest logistics providers are its clients.

In recent years, China’s internet behemoths have upped the ante in how goods move around as they look offline for growth. In May, ecommerce giant Alibaba and a fold of other investors poured $1.38 billion into express delivery company ZTO. In February, the logistics arm of JD.com, Alibaba’s close rival backed by Tencent, got a huge boost after raising $2.5 billion.

LG Mobile’s losses continue but now sales are falling too

Korean electronics giant LG is soaring to new heights, but its mobile division continues to lag well behind the rest of the company and the signs aren’t promising. LG’s latest financials released today recorded another quarter of success with operating profit jumping 16 percent year-on-year to hit KRW 771 billion ($715.1 million) as overall sales rose […]

Korean electronics giant LG is soaring to new heights, but its mobile division continues to lag well behind the rest of the company and the signs aren’t promising.

LG’s latest financials released today recorded another quarter of success with operating profit jumping 16 percent year-on-year to hit KRW 771 billion ($715.1 million) as overall sales rose 3.2 percent across the group. LG said its sales and profit for the first half of 2018 are at all-time highs but — and you knew a but was coming… — its smartphone division remains a significant loss-maker.

The company’s mobile and communications division — which houses LG Mobile — posted yet another quarter in the red. Sales of KRW 2.07 trillion ($1.92 billion) represented an annual drop of 23 percent, while the division carded an operating loss of KRW 185.4 billion, or $171.95 million.

That’s compared to a quarterly profit of KRW 407 billion ($377.48 million) for LG’s home entertainment business and a KRW 457.2 billion ($424.04 million) profit for its home appliance unit, which are LG’s two stand-out business units.

There’s nothing new herelosses are commonplace for LG Mobile.

It hasn’t been break-even or profitable since 2014. Those losses have been cut by some degree since the company shook up the division with new leadership in November 2017, but there’s plenty to worry about with sales dipping noticeably over the past two quarters of business.

This time around in Q2, LG put its mobile losses down to “the slowing growth of the global smartphone market and a decline in mid- to low-end smartphone sales in Latin America.” While it claimed that the size of the operating loss was down to investments in sales and marketing ahead of the release of its next flagship devices.

There’s a hint a reorganization — perhaps even layoffs — as the company added that it would “seek to further improve its business structure” as it aims prepares to push its LG G7 ThinQ and LG V35 ThinQ devices worldwide and get ready for those new launches.

More changes are on their way, you’d imagine, as LG is surely looking for a way to stem the bleeding but also retain a mobile business has certainly been iconic despite its struggles in recent times. Perhaps the answer is a downsizing in a similar style to Sony in 2016. Back then, the Japanese firm was losing even more than LG is per quarter but it began to be more strategic with its new device launches and target sales markets. The end result of that strategy was an end to the big losses and a more sustainable mobile business.