China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing raises US$5.5 billion
New funding round likely to give site a valuation of over US$50 billion, making it the world’s most valuable start-up, after Uber
Didi Chuxing, the Chinese equivalent of Uber, has closed a US$5.5 billion funding round.
China’s largest ride-sharing company didn’t reveal the identities of its backers but said the proceeds would be used to fund “its global strategy and artificial intelligence-based technologies”.
People familiar with the matter said the new round is likely to give the car hailing site a valuation of over US$50 billion, making it the world’s most valuable start-up, after Uber.
Softbank, Silver Lake, China Merchants Bank and an arm of Bank of Communications are believed to be among the investors behind the latest injection of funds.
Founded in 2012, Didi’s more than 100 existing investors include Apple, Tiger Global Management, and internet giants Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding, which is the owner of the South China Morning Post.
“With this new investment, Didi will continue to work with communities and partners around the world to provide more innovative mobility services, and expand smart urban transportation programmes as part of its efforts to build an efficient and sustainable global mobility ecosystem,” according to an emailed statement.
After driving Uber out of the Chinese market in August 2016, the company is now looking to expand internationally and transform automotive industries around the world by leveraging the transportation data gathered from its 400 million users across 400 Chinese cities.
In so doing, it is putting itself in a strong position to compete head-on with Uber and Google’s autonomous car project, Alphabet, both of which are pouring millions into the technology, powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Zhang Wensong, senior vice president of Beijing-based Didi, claimed in a previous interview that it was “the best platform to commercialise self-driving cars, because we have a lot of data generated by a huge number of ride-hailing users”.
“Our platform can provide 20 million trips per day, which is much more than Uber provides.”
Earlier this year, Didi launched a laboratory in Mountain View in California, close to an Apple research facility, in an effort to attract the best talent in AI.