Daily Management Review

China’s Ride Hailing Company Didi To Push Global Expansion Following $4 Billion Funding


China’s Ride Hailing Company Didi To Push Global Expansion Following $4 Billion Funding
The Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing has reportedly managed to gather enough investments to put its plans for global expansion into force after a massive round of funding where it got another investment from SoftBank Group.
Funds worth more than $4 billion has been secured by the company, it said. media reports said that the latest round of investments raised its valuation to almost $56 billion and liftin its cash reserves to $12 billion. The company said in a statement that it now wants to implement its plans for international expansion and the development of self-driving and electric vehicle systems.
Didi had earlier in the year pushed Uber out of the Chinese market to become the largest payer and is also the second-most valuable startup in the world after just 5 years. The company has been preparing to enter Taiwan through a franchising model and taking measures outside of the mainland China by backing Estonian player Taxify OU. This implementation phase of Didi is being done at a time when its primary to be international rival Uber has been facing a troubled period with regulatory issues and rising losses.  
“The new round is pretty important for Didi. With the Chinese market very much stabilized, Didi has to go out to find new growth opportunities,” said Will Tao, an analyst with consultancy iResearch. “Its first steps in overseas expansion should be in Southeast Asian markets like Vietnam and Malaysia, because Uber has a strong presence in Europe and the U.S.”
In April, Didi had managed to raise over $5.5 billion in another large round of funding with SoftBank again leading the investment round and setting a value of $50 billion to the startup.
The main company of SoftBank was behind the funding in the latest round and not the SoftBank Vision Fund led by Masayoshi Son, said Matthew Nicholson, a spokesman for Tokyo-based SoftBank. Sources also reportedly said that the latest funding round saw the participation of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala.
Among other backers for Didi are the country’s sovereign wealth fund, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Apple Inc.
One of the potential advantages for the Chinese firm in comparison to some of the rivals in the autonomous driving industry – where it plans to venture into, is the presence of huge cache of data of more than 450 million users spread in about 400 cities. The company has recently launched an lab for artificial intelligence research in Mountain View, California which has seen some good talent getting there.
“The optimization of maps and route designs takes a great deal of effort from deep learning,” Tao said.
The expansion of Didi would make things more difficult for Uber whihch has seen the exit of its founder Travis Kalanick following a series of scandals.
“Didi plans to scale up investments in AI talent and technologies, to further build up its intelligent driving and smart transportation capabilities,” it said in the statement. Construction of its own network of electric cars is also being planned by the company.