Jean Liu, the daughter of Lenovo’s founder Liu Chuanzhi, will be joining Tencent-backed taxi hailing app Didi as its chief operating officer. In her new role, the former investment banker is expected to help ensure a smooth path for Didi’s future fund-raising exercises.
Born in 1978, Liu graduated from Peking University with a degree in computer science. She then went on to obtain a master’s degree from Harvard University in 2002.
Liu joined Goldman Sachs after finishing her studies at Harvard. Initially serving as an analyst in the Wall Street titan’s banking department, she later went into the private-equity section before being appointed as an executive director of the investment bank in 2008.
According to tech news portal Bianews, Didi has raised around US$1 billion in its series D funding round a few months ago. With Liu on board, it will be much easier for the company to raise more money in the future given her contacts and experience in the investment banking world.
Apart from funding, Liu will have to help devise a path for Didi in a market where competition is mounting by the day. Yongche.com and Kuaidi are two major homegrown competitors, while US-based Uber is also a threat as it expands into China.
Kuaidi chief operating officer Zhao Dong told TMTpost that the firm is now diverting traffic from its taxi hailing app to its premium high-end service Kuaidi ONE, which has already achieved 10,000 bookings per day in 8 Chinese cities. Passengers can opt for Audi, BMW or Mercedes Benz from the car list provided by Kuaidi ONE.
There is speculation that Didi will late next month offer similar high-end auto rental service that targets the business market. The new service, dubbed “U You Dache”, will reflect the group’s ambition to have a bigger foothold in both the car sharing and general car rental markets.
Liu has been following the industry closely. At the China Private Equity Forum 2014, she had shared her thoughts on why Uber has such high estimated value and why Goldman Sachs has invested in the firm.
Given her thinking, we can assume that she might have already contemplated some ideas to push for Didi’s expansion and help it achieve better valuation from the investment community.
– Contact the writer at [email protected]