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Chinas Didi closes over $5.5 bn funding round

30 April 2017

Didi has tapped existing investors including Japan's SoftBank, China Merchants Bank and a unit of China's Bank of Communications, the person said.

The company would raise United States $5 billion in the new financing agreement, the report said, quoting people familiar with the deal.

"With this new investment, Didi will continue to work with communities and partners around the world to provide more innovative mobility services, and expand smart urban transportation programmes as part of its efforts to build an efficient and sustainable global mobility ecosystem", according to an emailed statement.

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.

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Uber and Didi Chuxing used to be fierce competitors once in the country, but Didi purchased the operations of Uber in the Chinese market previous year, once it became clear that both the businesses were losing money because of the competition, which led them to finance losses as they were offering deep discounts to capture market share.

Mr Son made a similar bet two decades ago on China e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, an investment that proved to be his most lucrative ever with a paper profit of $US85 billion.

Apple has invested $1 billion in Didi. Last month it officially opened a lab researching artificial intelligence-related driving technologies in Silicon Valley in the US.

Cheng and President Jean Liu hope that adopting driverless technology will help overcome such hurdles in the future. This makes it not just Uber's closest rival in ride-hailing apps, but the second most valuable private tech startup after its American competitor full stop. Didi wants to take advantage of data on 300 million users across some 400 cities. And it's already lured dozens of stalwarts in the field including former Uber auto-security expert Charlie Miller, known for remotely hacking into a Jeep Cherokee in 2015.

Chinas Didi closes over $5.5 bn funding round