Didi Chuxing Technology Co., China’s largest ride-hailing services firm, has raised US$4 billion in fresh funding as it seeks to expand its business and venture into areas such as self-driving vehicles.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Japan’s SoftBank Group and Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Development Co. participated in the latest funding round.
The injection gives Didi US$12 billion in cash reserves and a valuation of US$56 billion, sources were quoted as saying.
Beijing-based Didi, which bought Uber’s China operations last year, has so far raised about US$19 billion in total, the most venture capital ever raised by a startup, according to the report.
With its new financial power, Didi is in a better position to develop intelligent driving technologies against competitors such as Google affiliate Waymo, Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors and Chinese internet giant Baidu, the Journal noted, citing industry analysts and consultants.
Didi is said to be escalating its efforts on artificial-intelligence systems, using the data it collects from its more than 450 million active users.
Much of the new cash Didi raised will be used to develop autonomous vehicles, such as self-driving buses, and developing public-transportation management programs to dispatch buses and taxis based on traffic patterns, sources told the Journal.
In March, Didi opened an R&D lab in Silicon Valley which focuses on intelligent driving technologies and AI-based security. Didi also is looking to expand to Taiwan via a local partner, LEDI Technology.
Some of the new funding will also be spent building an electric-car charging network.
Didi has said earlier that more than 260,000 cars on its platform are electric and that it aims to boost that number to one million by 2020.
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