BEIJING, Dec. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology innovation has become the driving force behind the rise of green smart cities, with smart transportation being a major focus. On December 28, 2017, AIpark (parent company "Intelligent Interconnection") completed its Series A financing of over RMB 100 million, drawing market attention towards the hot topic of green smart transportation and cities. This round of investment was led by U.S.-China Green Fund with co-investment from Banyan China Capital.
In recent years, due to the rapid increase of motor vehicle ownership in China, traffic congestion and shortage of parking spaces have become a key challenge in urban development. Automotive exhaust emissions are a major source of air pollution. As Chinese cities are seeking sustainable urban development, they are turning towards building smart traffic systems including parking facility upgrades.
AIpark is a startup company that utilizes fourth-generation parking technology to manage city-wide road-side and garage parking systems. AIpark's Chairman, Mr. Jun Yan remarked, "This round of financing will be used to strengthen our research and development so that we can roll out more smart technologies, products, and services to gain more market share." With the capital infusion, AIpark can better integrate its domestic capabilities and expand into overseas markets.
U.S.-China Green Fund CEO Dr. Bo Bai stated, "The first and foremost challenge facing the creation of green smart cities is traffic congestion, environmental degradation, and high energy consumption. This is where our Fund comes in to address the issue. With our investment approach that combines industry expertise with technology and capital, we can help various vertical sectors, including the parking business, achieve energy savings and green upgrades."
Banyan China Capital Founding Partner Mr. Zhen Zhang said, "AIpark is an exemplary company in the industry that utilizes advanced technologies to improve the efficiency of urban operations. The company's management has created an advanced, comprehensive city-wide solution that has quickly taken off. We believe AIpark will help cities significantly improve their urban transportation while creating value for its customers."
When asked about the rationale behind the investment, Dr. Bai added, "technology and scale are the major drivers of profitability in the operations and management of the parking business. AIpark is the world's first company that has commercially applied fully intelligent image recognition technology to address the main challenges of urban development. The company has already taken several major Chinese cities and become an industry leader."
As of July 2017, the number of motor vehicles in China has exceeded 300 million. At the same time, the shortage of urban parking spaces has grown continuously. Lack of information flow between parking lot operators and drivers has led to low utilization of parking spaces. AI Park has introduced "AIpark City" and "AIpark One" intelligent parking management systems to specifically address city public parking and commercial building parking problems.
So far, "AIpark City" has already launched in Beijing, Shijiazhuang and Handan, substantially improving the quality of public parking services, reducing operating costs, and more than doubling revenues. More than one thousand parking lots in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Handan, Zhangjiakou, Xi'an, and Jinan have successfully integrated "AIpark One" into their management systems. The use of "AIpark One" helped operators increase more than 50% in revenue and reduce 60% in operating costs.
Over the years, local governments in China have actively introduced relevant laws and regulations and implemented a variety of technologies such as handheld PDA terminals, ground magnetic sensors, and video polls to address parking challenges. However, constrained by physical spaces, these devices have not achieved satisfactory results due to issues such as existence of blind spots, difficulties in obtaining violation evidence, and physical damage to road surfaces.
Dr. Bai noted that to "build a green smart city, one would require integrated holistic solutions to achieve smart parking and resolve city-wide transportation problems. Mr. Yan added, "AIpark has committed to becoming a comprehensive city-level parking solution provider from the start. It has pioneered a 'G + B' to 'C' business model, which links parking spaces in government facilities (G) and commercial buildings (B) with car owners (C), to address urban parking challenges."
Dr. Bai added, "U.S.-China Green Fund has been systematically analyzing the parking industry. It was eye-opening to see AIpark's business model. With our cross-border integration capabilities, we can help AIpark expand its business to overseas market." AIpark intends to begin operations in Hong Kong and Singapore in the near term.
Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is being rapidly used in many sectors including urban operations and transportation. AIpark has plans to incorporate the latest AI technology to enhance the intelligence of existing products and systems.
AIpark is in the process of developing its "AII Blue Brain" or "Artificial Intelligence Identification Blue Brain," which combines scenario intelligence, supercomputing, and scenario recognition technologies to achieve fully autonomous management and monitoring of parking facilities. It will disrupt existing business models and the competitive landscape, leading the industry into the next level of innovation.
U.S.-China Green Fund
U.S.-China Green Fund is a commercially-run private equity fund whose mission is to promote sustainable green development in China through innovative U.S.-China collaborations in finance, green technology and business models. The Green Fund has developed a unique five-pillared business model "P.R.I.M.E." (Policy, Research, Integration, Money and Execution), to leverage policy support and use "industry + technology + capital" investment strategy to support strong execution teams to achieve its goal to "Invest · Greenergize China." The Fund has made a number of investments in two main areas: 1) green energy, energy efficiency, and environmental protection and 2) green smart cities and villages, making great strides in commercial building energy efficiency, data center energy savings, green smart homes, waste heat recovery, distributed solar, and green smart parking etc.
SOURCE U.S.-China Green Fund