Manbang, China’s “Uber-for-Trucks” is securing funds to support expansion of its driverless program, and the company has already invested in a Silicon Valley driverless truck start-up. While the company is still establishing itself in China, it’s success or failure could be a signal for similar companies in the United States.
We’ve already seen ride-sharing and delivery-based services disrupt industries, so it doesn’t take much to imagine the same thing happening to the trucking industry. Of course, anyone looking to shake up the trucking industry will find unique difficulties. Manbang is experiencing these growing pains, as one of the first in the market, and is struggling to prove its profitability.
Manbang’s application seeks to connect shippers with truck drivers in China’s massive trucking industry. However, the company is dealing with several speedbumps, including valuation of costs, as some truckers protest issues such as the company’s impact on haulage rates.
There are certainly major differences between the Chinese and American markets, including America’s complex regulation of the transportation industry; however, if Manbang can prove its viability a next logical step would be for the American market to see efforts by Manbang or other companies to do the same here.
It remains to be seen whether “Uber-for-trucks” can be successful, but it’s clear that any industry with inefficiencies of any kind needs to be on the lookout for new companies looking to disrupt the traditional model. Even if Manbang fails, it’s safe to assume other companies will learn from their mistakes and make their own attempts to disrupt the trucking market both overseas and in the United States. For now, Manbang will be of great interest going forward, as we start to learn just how exposed the trucking industry could be to an overhaul.