China’s Didi Raises $4B for AI, Electric Vehicles and International Expansion

Jennifer| 2017-12-21 News Comments( 0 )

Chinese Beijing-based ride-hail giant Didi Chuxing published a brief statement about the funding. The company said today that Didi has already received a big amount of funding from Alibaba, Apple, and Tencent, which was $13 billion; and now this new round of funding is $4 billion, which will be used to develop AI technology, international expansion, as well as green vehicles. 

Didi didn’t disclose any investor’s name, but the company said that there are both Chinese and international organizations joining this round of fundraising. According to Didi’s statement, it can be paraphrased that there are a wide range of investors in the latest round of fundraising, so that the company does not narrow the list down. Well, there is still a source saying that it is certain that SoftBank and Mubadala Capital, the state fund of Abu Dhabi, which are both existing investors of Didi, participated in the latest fund raising.  

After the latest fund raising, Didi is said to be worth $56 billion, which is a big jump on the previous $50 billion in April, when the company just closed a fresh investment of $5.5 billion. Now, it becomes more interesting because Didi’s current valuation seems to be higher than US-based ride-hailing company Uber’s, because recently SoftBank’s latest investment in it was discounted 30%. It is normal that the valuations are fluctuating, while it is foreseeable that Didi will smile at this milestone. 

Didi has become a leader in the ride-hailing industry after it announced to acquire Uber’s China business. Although the acquisition has been announced over a year ago, it now is still waiting for the full approval to complete the deal. 

In terms of funding usage, the company has already invested a lot in AI technology for improve its ride-sharing services. In recent two years, the company has opened an AI research lab based in the U.S. and made a series of significant hires in AI as well as security fields. 

By far, the Chinese ride-sharing giant still maintain business in China only, even though the company has already expanded its partnership network via investments in those companies rivaling Uber around the world, such as Lyft in the U.S., Txify in Europe, Ola in India, Grab in Sourhease Asia, and Careem in the Middle East. As for real physical expansion across the world, it seem to come soon. 

As for developing green electric vehicles, Didi ever talked that the company is going to create privately owned charging network in November in China, partnering DEIDCO and UN. Didi says that it will operate the largest electric car fleet in the world. At present, 2 million electric cars are in China, and there are over 260,000 electric cars on its platform which has 21 million drivers and 450 million users. Didi wants to increase that number to 1 million electric cars by 2020.

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