Dishangtie Car Rental, a Shenzhen-based commercial electric vehicle rental service, said on Monday that it had raised another $70 million in series B3 funding, offering further evidence that China’s EV market may be maturing after a period of super-charged growth.
Dishangtie, commonly known as DSTcar, said the latest funding round was led by Hong Kong-based venture capital fund Jeneration Capital Management. Chinese financial services provider Far East Horizon and European private equity firm Idinvest Partners were among the co-investors.
Monday’s fundraising is the third phase of the firm's $100 million series B funding round, which involved earlier commitments from Japanese conglomerate Itochu Corporation and local investors like Qiming Venture Partners and Matrix Partners.
The money-raising success of the four year-old startup that China is gradually creating an ecosystem around electric vehicles as the world’s biggest EV market becomes increasingly demand-driven. It is turning away from a market supported by government policies after Beijing announced plans to remove subsidies on EV purchases by the end of next year.
The rapid growth of China’s EV market has helped to create specialised service providers like DSTcar, which distinguishes itself from the likes of bigger auto rental firms like Car Inc and eHi Car by focusing on electric vehicles.
Besides its niche EV focus, DSTcar also avoids competition in the broader business-to-consumer (B2C) market by focusing on corporate clients. It counts major logistics firms like JD Logistics, SF Express and Best Logistics among its major customers.
DSTcar supports these firms with rental services across a number of vehicles, including minivans, trucks and refrigerator cars. It also helps its clients keep track of their delivery network by providing real-time location, traffic and safety information, as well as offering other value-added services like maintenance, insurance and licensing.
DSTcar claims it is China’s largest commercial EV rental company with over 25,000 cars. It currently owns and operates 3,000 charging stations across 50 first- and second-tier Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu.
The company said it hopes to solve some of the long-standing problems around the use of electric vehicles for business clients, such as insufficient infrastructure support and high management costs.
“Since our inception four years ago, we have built a commercial EV rental network that covers all major cities in China,” DSTcar's chief executive, Haiying Zhang, said in a statement. “With the new funds, we aim to improve our operational efficiency and upgrade our digital management systems in order to enhance user experience.”