YMM has redefined the land-based logistics sector in China. It is the first and largest domestic cargo dispatch platform using cloud computing, big data, mobile internet and AIT (Advanced Internet Technologies). YMM's General Manager, Tianye Miao, talks to IRU about his advice for the next generation of startups, YMM’s achievements and challenges, and what he expects at the IRU World Congress.
Innovation has been in YMM’s DNA since its creation. How is innovation and advanced technology helping to grow your business?
“Innovative growth” is the “guiding star” that jumpstarted YMM’s creation and acts as the motivating force for our continued development.
Before we went into business, communication between cargo owners and drivers was limited to consulting a forwarding agent’s office or a blackboard in the information hall of an industrial park.
With the growth of mobile technology, YMM became the first enterprise in China, and even worldwide, to move road freight dispatch services on to smartphones. Building on our initial offering, YMM upgraded from an information platform to a transaction one by introducing continuous technology and service-based innovations. We have expanded from a road freight dispatcher to a leading ecosystem that encompasses all aspects of the drivers and cargo owners’ production chain.
Over 400 people work on research and development at YMM. They use big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to improve freight logistics.
We have a “smart brain” at the YMM HQ — a nationwide road transportation smart dispatch system.
When a cargo truck arrives at a destination, the dispatch system is able to quickly pull up the driver’s digital profile. This includes information on who he has carried cargo for previously, the type of cargo he prefers to load and his information in the evaluation system etc. After analysing over 100 data segments, truck drivers are accurately matched with cargo owners.
After the smart dispatch system went online, the rate of YMM’s cargo-to-driver matches increased 99 percent while the success rate of real-time scheduling reached 95 percent. The average cargo assignment time was reduced to 38 seconds, increasing driver income by 20 percent.
What are the greatest achievements of YMM so far?
There are more than 5.2 million truck drivers and 1.25 million cargo owners registered on the YMM platform. The volume of daily cargo turnover on the platform is 13.6 billion tonnes per kilometre worth an estimated RMB 1.7 billion yuan.
Our business operations cover 334 cities nationwide.
Beyond these numbers, our platform enables truck drivers to find cargo assignments at a faster pace increasing their income and freedom to organise their working hours with family time; while cargo owners are able to send out their goods at a faster pace without having to run round in circles for their cargo shipment. The average waiting time for truck drivers to locate cargo assignments has been reduced from 2.27 days to 0.38 days.
YMM’s services have reduced the rate of empty cargo trips by 5 percent.
Bringing the figure to 32 percent from 37 percent. Annual diesel costs were reduced by RMB 86 billion. Carbon emissions have been reduced by some 46 million tonnes with a positive impact on the environment and energy conservation.
YMM also organised activities such as “National Truck Driver’s Day” and “Papa, Bring Me to See the World”. These events improved professional dignity and sense of social participation for truck drivers.
The dream of “A Better Road Transport Logistics” is coming true with each step. We are very proud of this achievement.
What are the key challenges facing YMM and the whole industry?
Road transport and logistics are the foundation of China’s national economic development.
The biggest challenge facing YMM and the entire road transport industry is how to improve efficiency and lower costs. To achieve this YMM, together with many of our partners and industry peers, is carrying out even more R&D and practice trials to drive the development of this industry.
What’s the future prospects of YMM as well as the industry? Do you have plans to expand your business beyond China?
China’s freight logistics market is valued today at RMB 8 trillion. There remain many opportunities for us to explore and test our latest innovations.
For the future, Zhang Hui, founder of YMM, has proposed a “No Trucks, Unmanned and Omnipresent” strategy. “No Trucks” refers to freight brokers who do not own trucks. Back in 2016, YMM was already among the first batch of pilot enterprises in China to conduct market research on non-truck-owning freight brokers.
“Unmanned” refers to autonomous vehicles.
YMM will strongly promote the application of self-driving technology and smart terminals in the cargo truck sector.
“Omnipresent” refers to YMM’s comprehensive coverage of the entire transport and transit chain, as well as improving truck drivers’ productivity and quality of life.
YMM is the first Chinese enterprise to become a member of IRU.
In the future, YMM will, on one hand, use big data acquisition and application tools as a basis to research and develop a multi-language international app for expanding our service territory. On the other hand, we will promote the development of intermodal transport to optimise matching for cargo distribution capacity.
What specific expectations/messages do you have for the World Congress?
YMM is greatly honored to take part in the IRU World Congress in Muscat, Oman from 6-8 November as a company that represents innovation in the logistics sector. We are looking forward to sharing our proven ideas and technology with participants, and bringing home the latest global information on road transport to improve the freight logistics industry in China and abroad.
As a very successful unicorn start-up company, what’s your suggestions to the next generation start-up companies?
Entrepreneurs must “view the present from a future perspective”.
They need to accurately position themselves in the market and work out the right development path.
In addition, it is also highly important to build a team which shares the same values, strong sense of mission and whose strengths are mutually complementary.
What opportunities does YMM see in the Belt and Road Initiative?
YMM is actively taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative. We are taking advantage of it to further develop our company and technology, to promote our business and to expand the use of our platform in cross-border trade, showcasing China’s AI capabilities.
YMM also will carry out smart intelligence upgrades for existing industrial parks at key points along the Belt and Road route. This will enable drivers around the world to benefit from the convenience and efficiency provided by intelligent freight logistics.