China's Didi confirms $5.5 billion funding for global expansion

Didi Chuxing

Chinese ride-hailing service giant Didi Chuxing confirmed today that it has finalized a funding round of over US$ 5.5 billion, local media is reporting. Didi amassed US$10 billion in cash and equivalents past year, 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.

The new valuation of more than US$50 billion would make Didi China's second-most valuable privately owned firm.

The new funds will go to worldwide investments along with research and development for driverless vehicle and artificial intelligence technology.

The latest funding round which is looking at participation from SoftBank Group, Silver Lake Partners, China Merchants Bank and Bank of Communications, will be used for global expansion.

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.

Spokesmen for Didi and Softbank declined to comment. Didi has invested $30 million in India based Ola Cabs and has participated in a $350 million funding round of GrabTaxi, SEA's largest ride hailing service.

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Didi, China's leading car-hailing service, which boasts over 20 million daily orders, made a strategic investment in ofo, one of the country's top bike-sharing services, in September 2016.

Editor's Remarks: Including the new funds, Didi's latest investment round values it at $50bn.

Cheng and President Jean Liu hope that adopting driverless technology will help overcome such hurdles in the future.

Though Didi is the market leader in China, the company is pretty much unknown to consumers elsewhere.

Didi has raised over US$ 10 billion in debt and equity from investors including conglomerates such as Apple, Tencent and Alibaba. It also employed Charlie Miler, former Uber engineer as the transport safety and security expert at the division.

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