Uber Rival In China Is Now a $50 Billion Worth Business

Didi Chuxing, the ride hailing company that's now backed by more than 100 investors including Apple and Chinese internet giant Alibaba, is close to securing between $5 billion and $6 billion in fresh funds, according to a person familiar with the fund raising.

Since Uber exited the Chinese market past year Didi has targeted efforts on expanding in Latin America, signing a strategic deal with Brazilian ride-hailing service 99 in January.

It also propels Didi well above Xiaomi Inc, which held the title of China's most valuable startup after a 2014 funding round valued the smartphone maker at $46 billion.

The financing follows a massive US$4.5 billion equity funding in June past year from Apple, China Life, Ant Financial, as well as returning investors Tencent, Alibaba, China Merchants Bank and SoftBank.

Uber and Didi Chuxing used to be fierce competitors once in the country, but Didi purchased the operations of Uber in the Chinese market past year, once it became clear that both the businesses were losing money because of the competition, which led them to finance losses as they were offering deep discounts to capture market share. The list of entities who took part in the latest round of funding has not been revealed, but sources said it could be SoftBank Group Corp., Silver Lake Kraftwerk, China Merchants Bank Co. and an arm of Bank of Communications Co. Formerly called Didi Kuaidi, the business provides ride-hailing services to about 400 million people across 400 cities in China.

The company delayed announcing the investment, despite many previous reports hinting at it. Didi already made some investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and did some hiring for its AI division in March - the company set up a new AI lab in Mountain View, California to focus on intelligent driving systems, artificial-intelligence-based transport security and self-driving.

China's Didi Chuxing Technology Co. said it raised $5.5 billion in a new funding round, which will help fuel its global expansion and push into artificial intelligence. Didi wants to take advantage of data on 400 million users across some 400 cities to aid research into AI and autonomous vehicles.

On-demand mobility company Didi Chuxing has added a bike-sharing service from ofo, and will promote it across China.

  • Joe Gonzales