In the largest round of funding ever for a technology company, China’s ride-hailing giant has raised funds from investors in excess of $5.5 billion. The funds will be utilized to expand operations beyond China and also for carrying out research into driver-less technology. It may be recalled that last year, Didi had acquired Uber’s business in China. Didi is ranked amongst the best funded companies in China, with financial support provided by several state agencies, global venture firms and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd. The latest round of funding may unlock new pathways into related fields such as artificial intelligence, auto-financing and business expansion globally.
Didi is headed by 33-year-old Cheng Wei. The list of entities who took part in the latest round of funding has not been revealed, but sources said it could be SoftBank Group Corp., Silver Lake Kraftwerk, China Merchants Bank Co. and an arm of Bank of Communications Co. After Didi acquired Uber’s business in China last year, its valuation had jumped to $34 billion. Now, after this round of funding, its valuation has reached $50 billion. At this valuation, Didi has become the most valuable startup after Uber. Its next target would be to take on Uber and Alphabet Inc. in driverless technology.