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Didi Chuxing

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi gets US$500 million funding boost from Booking Holdings

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 6:19pm

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, has received a US$500 million investment from US-based Booking Holdings, owner of online brands such as Priceline and Agoda.

As part of the investment deal, Didi customers can book hotels through Booking.com or Agoda, as well as hail rides using Booking’s platforms, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

“We look forward to seamlessly connecting every segment of the journey and improving everyone's travelling experience through more collaborative innovation with the Booking brands on product, technology and market development,” Stephen Zhu, Didi’s vice-president for strategy, said in the statement.

Todd Henrich, head of corporate development for Booking Holdings, said Didi had “clear advantages in technology and scale” in the shared mobility industry.

Earlier this year, Didi was actively seeking to raise fresh capital by issuing US dollar convertible bonds, a type of debt security that can be converted into stock, but Didi is now slowing down its fundraising moves partly because competitor Meituan Dianping has also been easing back on the expansion of its ride hailing business, people familiar with the plans said on Friday

Financing plans are fluid though and can change on market conditions, the people said, declining to be identified because the information is private.

Grab to open up its platform to third party services

Booking Holdings serves users and partners in more than 220 countries and territories through its major brands including Booking.com, agoda.com, Kayak, Priceline.com, Rentacars.com and OpenTable.

Having driven US-based Uber Technologies out of China in 2016 in exchange for a minority stake, Didi now counts Apple, Softbank, Alibaba Group and Tencent among its biggest shareholders. Last year it handled 7.4 billion rides, compared with Uber’s 4 billion trips.

China’s car-sharing market has a potential value of 1.8 trillion yuan (US$287 billion), with daily rentals likely to grow from 8.16 million in 2015 to 37 million this year, according to EvCard, the Shanghai-based electric car rental subsidiary of SAIC Motor, which has also entered the ride hailing business.

Didi has also grown its global business by building alliances with Uber’s US rival Lyft, Southeast Asia’s Grab, Ola in India, Brazil’s 99, Taxify in Estonia and Careem, a ride-hailing operator serving the Middle East and North Africa.

Last month Japan’s Toyota Motor agreed to buy a US$1 billion stake Grab, marking the biggest investment by a carmaker into a ride-hailing firm.

Didi to slow financing as it eyes 2019 IPO, competition with Meituan eases

Over the past two years China’s ride-hailing market has attracted new players such as Meituan Dianping, the country’s largest on-demand service provider, travel platform giant Ctrip, and Caocao Zhuanche, backed by carmaker Geely.

Last October Priceline invested US$450 million in Meituan-Dianping, giving its Agoda online travel agency access to the Chinese e-commerce company’s customer base.