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China's Ping An jointly invests US$70 million in Indian auto tech firm

By Asia Asset Management  
December 9, 2019

China’s Ping An Insurance Group, Chinese private equity firm Hillhouse Capital and US venture capital firm Sequoia Capital have committed a total US$70 million to Indian automobile technology company CarDekho Group.

It marks Ping An’s first venture capital investment in Asia’s third largest economy.

The insurance giant participated in CarDekho’s latest round of fundraising via Ping An Global Voyager Fund, its overseas investment arm, which has around $250 million of assets under management currently.

According to Donald Lacey, the fund’s managing director and chief operating officer, auto services are “a core component of Ping An’s finance plus ecosystem strategy”.

“We have been extremely impressed with the business CarDekho has built in India, particularly its success in developing different types of finance service offerings to address car buyers’ needs,” Mr. Lacey says in a statement on December 5.

CarDekho, headquartered in the city of Jaipur in the northwest of India, is one of the largest car technology companies in India. It was established in 2008.

According to a Hong Kong-based equity analyst, Ping An is taking steps to diversify from its core business because China’s traditional insurance market is no longer in a period of exponential growth.

“Auto services is one of the five new areas Ping An is focusing on. It makes sense for the insurer to enter into the India market given the country’s growing demand for car rental, insurance and sales services,” the analyst tells Asia Asset Management, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Two years ago, Ping An acquired a 6.5% stake in Chinese online car transaction platform Autohome from Australian telecommunication company Telstra for $217 million.

With its latest round of fundraising, CarDekho has now secured around $250 million from a number of marquee investors since 2013. They include US private equity manager CapitalG, and India’s HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, venture capital firm Trifecta, and internet service provider Times Internet.

“With the latest fundraise, we will continue to strengthen our domestic and international businesses and will aggressively work towards becoming the largest personal mobility player in the country,” Amit Jain, chief executive officer and co-founder of CarDekho, says in the statement.

Ping An had 7.56 trillion RMB ($1.07 trillion) of total assets as of June 2019.