China's Ride-Sharing App Didi Raises $4 Billion in New Funding


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

In an email to CNBC, Softbank of Japan said that it participated in the funding, but did not disclose the amount it had invested.

The money is meant to support Didi in artificial intelligence capacity-building, worldwide expansion and other new business initiatives, such as the development of new energy vehicle service networks.

The deal will give Didi a license to conduct online-payment business, enabling it to enter an industry dominated by its investors Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Didi made the investment through its wholly owned subsidiary Shanghai Shiyuan Technology.

The investment would extend Didi's valuation to $56bn.

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Didi president Jean Liu told The National last month the company was in no hurry to raise further money via an initial public offering, noting that the company was well-capitalised and that there was no pressure for a listing from its investors.

It has also teamed up with overseas competitors, including Lyft in the U.S., Grab in Singapore, Ola in India, Taxify in Estonia and Careem in the United Arab Emirates.

Didi's partnership with Careem, which gave it an undisclosed shareholding in the Middle East's first tech "unicorn", gives Careem access to the Chinese firm's deep expertise in areas such as artificial intelligence and global markets, as Careem seeks to develop its product and further expand its geographic reach.

The Wall Street Journal which cited sources reported that Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Capital also invested in the funding round.