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Didi Announce $5.5B Round To Support Global Expansion, AI Investments

Didi Announce $5.5B Round To Support Global Expansion, AI Investments”

China legalised ride-hailing services in July past year and is the world's largest car-hailing market, fuelled by hundreds of millions of mobile-savvy Chinese millennials. Didi amassed US$10 billion in cash and equivalents a year ago, but the deal yields more ammunition as it prepares to challenge Uber and Alphabet Inc.in automated driving, and buys the company time to carve out new revenue streams.

This funding round makes Didi more valuable than Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi Corp., whose valuation was $46 billion after a funding round in December 2014. Like other technology companies including Uber and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, it is looking to expand into autonomous cars as technology disrupts traditional transportation solutions, opening a research and development lab in Silicon Valley this March.

Didi's statement did not give details on who provided the fresh funds, but Bloomberg News, quoting people familiar with the situation, said the investors include Japan's SoftBank Group (Hanover: SFT.HA - news), China Merchants Bank, and an arm of China's Bank of Communications.

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Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, is now China's most valuable privately owned company with a valuation of more than US$60 billion.

Didi Chuxing is based out of Beijing.

With the launch of Didi Labs in Mountain View, California earlier this year, the company aims to attract more talent and explore new investment opportunities.

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Didi already lists among its investors Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) and Chinese internet titans Alibaba (Berlin: AHLA.BE - news) and Tencent (HKSE: 0700-OL.HK - news).

The company hopes that driverless technology could help it overcome these hurdles in the future.

China's homegrown answer to Uber is about to become the world's second most valuable startup.

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Silver Lake Kraftwerk, a venture set up by private equity firm Silver Lake and hedge fund billionaire George Soros, is investing in Didi for the first time, the person added.



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