Chinese power bank rental startup Xiaodian Technology has signed “pre-listing tutoring agreements” with Zheshang Security Co., which sets it on track to go public—the first company of its kind to do so. The IPO will take place on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, according to a China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) filing released on July 3.
The concept of power bank rentals took off in China around 2017 with the boom in the sharing economy. Since then, power bank stations have been installed in public spaces like restaurants, malls, theaters, and airports. Benefiting from the wide spread of e-wallets, providers waive deposits when users reach a high credit score on Alipay or WeChat Pay. That largely boosted the adoption of the service and relieved smartphone users from worries that they might run out of juice.
Four players currently dominate the space—AnkerBox (or “Jiedian” in Chinese), Xiaodian, Energy Monster, and Laidian—accounting for over 85% of stations in 2019. The market volume is estimated at RMB 7.9 billion (USD 1.1 billion) and expected to reach RMB 9.2 billion (USD 1.3 billion) in 2020, according to Chinese consultancy iResearch. Research firm Trustdata found in 2019 that Xiaodian is the runner-up with 27% of market share, behind AnkerBox at 28.6%.
Ex-Alibaba employee Tang Yongbo, who founded Xiaodan four years ago in Hangzhou, is the biggest shareholder with a 38% stake, according to the CSRC filing. Its backers include Tencent, Sequoia Capital, GSR Ventures, and Suning.
Despite its young age, the market might already be ripe for disruption. Food-delivery giant Meituan Dianping is ramping up efforts to expand its power bank sharing business nationwide, as KrASIA reported in April.