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Thailand's logistics startup Flash Categorical raises $ 200 million

Flash Express, a two-year-old logistics startup working with e-commerce companies in Thailand, announced Monday that it has raised $ 200 million in a new round of funding to double in a fast-growing market which is being driven by demand the coronavirus pandemic.

The financing, a Series D, was led by PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited, the marquee oil and retail business of the Thai conglomerate PTT. Durbell and Krungsri Finnovate, two other top conglomerates in the Southeast Asian country, also took part in the round that brings Flash Express's previous increase to around $ 400 million.

Flash Express, which operates a door-to-door pickup and delivery service, claims to be the second largest private player in the space. The startup, which also includes Alibaba as an investor, entered the market with delivery fees of just 60 cents per package, which enabled it to quickly gain significant market share.

The startup has also grown aggressively over the past year. Flash Express had around 1,100 delivery points during this time last year. Now it has over 5,000, more than 138 year old Thailand Post.

Flash Express currently delivers more than 1 million packages per day, up from around 50,000 in the same period last year. According to its own information, the startup has also invested heavily in technologies that have enabled it to process over 100,000 parcels in one minute with fully automatic sorting systems.

Komsan Lee, CEO of Flash Express, said the startup plans to use the new funds to launch new services and expand to other Southeast Asian markets (names he did not identify). “We are also ready to develop new technologies in order to achieve even greater delivery and logistics efficiency. More importantly, we want to help SMEs lower their investment costs, which we believe will benefit the entire Thai economy in the digital age in the long term, ”he said.

Retail Business Public Company Limited plans to leverage Flash Express's logistics network to meet growing consumer demand, said Rajsuda Rangsiyakull, senior executive vice president of corporate strategy, innovation and sustainability at Retail Business Public Company Limited.

Flash Express competes with Best Express – which, like Flash, is supported by Alibaba – and Kerry Express, which filed for an IPO in late August.

Although online shopping and delivery have accelerated in recent months, some estimates suggest that the entire logistics market in Thailand will see its first decline in history this year. Chumpol Saichuer, president of the Thai Transportation and Logistics Association, said last month that Thailand's logistics business was already badly affected by the slowing global economy.

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