Published: Sun, April 30, 2017
Sci-tech | By Doreen King

Chinas Didi closes over $5.5 bn funding round

Chinas Didi closes over $5.5 bn funding round

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing raised more than $5.5 billion from investors, scoring the largest round of funding ever for a technology company to bankroll an expansion beyond China and into driverless technology. China Money Network reported yesterday that the Beijing-based company is valued at US$50 billion post-money, up from the US$34 billion valuation previous year.

At $50 billion, Didi's valuation is propelled well above that of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which held the title of China's most valuable startup after a 2014 funding round put it at $46 billion.

The new funds will go to global investments along with research and development for driverless auto and artificial intelligence technology. It will become the second most valuable private firm in the country after Ant Financial, the China-based private internet company and an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings, valued at $60 billion. Formerly called Didi Kuaidi, the business provides ride-hailing services to about 400 million people across 400 cities in China.

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Spokesmen for Didi and Softbank declined to comment.

Didi, however, did not name the investors.

The people said that part of the latest capital investment in Didi would be used for global expansion. "With the launch of Didi Labs in Mountain View in California earlier this year, the company continues to attract the industry's top minds and explore investment opportunities in core technology areas", the company further added.

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Didi now counts more than 100 investors as backers including Tencent, Alibaba, Tiger Global Management and Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. Didi wants to take advantage of data on 400 million users across some 400 cities to aid research into AI and autonomous vehicles.

Historically, Didi has raised a mix of equity and debt financing, but with its latest round the company hasn't revealed how the $5.5 billion is made up - it's likely to be a mix of both equity and debt, however.

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