Greater Bay Area Homeland Bets on CassTime: More than Matchmaking
The integration of online and offline is changing China’s automotive aftermarkets; future successful business models will go beyond a simple marketplace + delivery capacity.
► Winner-takes-all is an unlikely thing to happen in this immature market, and players are still exploring ways to standardize the selling and management processes.
► CassTime has founded a sound system comprises of regulations, scenario-based product menus, after-service and logistics, serving a premium market. It will also give CassTime a competitive advantage when moving into mid-range car brands, in our view.
Chinese auto parts procurement platform CassTime has closed its new round of funding of USD 50 million, led by Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments Limited. The deal came eight months after its USD 80 million Series C1 round last October.
The company is well-positioned to ride the Industry Internet opportunity in China. The coronavirus outbreak could lead to favorable user (workshop) behavior changes in online procurement for auto parts and accelerate online penetration. CassTime saw a rising volume and number of active users in April compared with last December, with its business enjoying a faster recovery than offline 4S stores and workshops. The evolving online trends are making fulfillment capabilities and broad SKUs more crucial in this auto parts market. Business-to-business platforms like CassTime, AutoCloudpro, and Baturu have an edge in the present.
Despite slumping auto sales in China, luxury cars broke out as the silver lining with 4.1% year-over-year growth in 2019 (vs. minus 8.2% growth for new car sales). Founded in 2015, CassTime has been focusing on the high-end market, providing a broad product portfolio to solve pain points therein. The firm has claimed the business has reached breakeven in the high-end niche. Among its 86,000 premium workshop clients, most use CassTime’s services to purchase premium auto parts daily.
On the other hand, CassTime has been continuously expanding services to the mid-range car market, which is more fragmented than the premium market. As of May 2020, the company serves 40,000–50,000 customers in the market.
The company’s founder Jiang Yongxing, a former Huawei executive, has attributed its core competence to two aspects.
CassTime makes information searches and inquiries more precise. The complicated auto parts description may hinder buyers from looking up parts and placing orders that meet the requirements. At the same time, the company has put the effort into the back-end operation to reduce error ratio to 0.03% vs. the industry level of 5%–10%.
CassTime constructs transaction standards and credit systems for the industry by building digital infrastructure. The company has divided its product range into classes including Original Equipment Supplier (OES), Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), aftermarket and remanufacturing to give customers a transparent view, with comprehensive logistics service and warranties. It also taps into the payment system to serve trusted customers for better account payable/receivable service.