Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing raises over US$4 billion as battle with Uber intensifies

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing raises over US$4 billion as battle with Uber intensifies
PHOTO: Reuters

China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has raised over US$4 billion (S$5.4 billion) in its latest round of funding, the company said on Thursday, posing a challenge to its US rival Uber in its efforts to branch out overseas.

The latest investment values Didi at over US$50 billion, according to Reuters, and equips it with the cash needed to aggressively pursue expansion opportunities abroad.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Didi will launch in Mexico next year. The move would mark Didi's first expansion of its services beyond China.

On Tuesday, Didi said it was it was looking to bring its ride-hailing service to Taiwan.

Didi said it intends to use the proceeds to "scale up investments in AI (artificial intelligence) talent and technologies, to further build up its intelligent driving and smart transportation capabilities, and to bring more innovative and diversified transportation services to broader communities around the world."

Didi said the fundraising attracted both Chinese and international investors.

Softbank of Japan said in an email to CNBC that it participated in the funding. The company did not disclose how much it invested.

Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Capital also invested in the funding round, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. Mubadala did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

In late November, Mubadala CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak told CNBC his firm invested in SoftBank's $93 billion Vision Fund - the largest tech fund ever put together - which is also pouring cash into Chinese companies.

Didi's global push will be a threat to Uber.

The two companies have been in a slow-moving war for years. In 2016, Didi muscled Uber out of its home base of China. Uber had rolled out its ride-hailing services in 60 different cities there, with 150 million trips driven per month through its platform. But Uber was also racking up losses of more than US$1 billion in China annually.

Didi has also invested in Uber's rivals globally, including US-based Lyft, Brazil-based 99 and Singapore-headquartered Grab.

Didi's investors include Apple and Alibaba.

- CNBC's David Reid, Hadley Gamble and Lora Kolodny contributed to this story.

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