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Didi Chuxing has scored another investment from SoftBank Group in a massive funding round that will bankroll the Chinese ride-hailing leader’s exploration of new markets and technologies. Didi said it’s secured new financing of more than $4 billion. That pushed its valuation to about $56 billion and lifts cash reserves to $12 billion, people familiar with the matter said, asking to not be identified as the details are private.
The five-year-old company now intends to expand internationally as well as develop self-driving and electric vehicle systems, it said in a statement.Didi, the world’s second-most valuable start-up, dominates ride-hailing in China after pushing Uber Technologies out of the market. The Beijing-based company has started taking steps beyond the mainland, backing Estonian player Taxify OU while preparing a push into Taiwan via a franchising model. That expansion coincides with a difficult period for Uber, which is grappling with heightened regulatory scrutiny in Europe as well as mounting losses. “The new round is pretty important for Didi. With the Chinese market very much stabilised, 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 US” The new funding comes after Didi raised more than $5.5 billion in April, a record round led by SoftBank that was said to value the startup at $50 billion. Matthew Nicholson, a spokesman for Tokyo-based SoftBank, confirmed the latest investment came from the company itself rather than the SoftBank Vision Fund spearheaded by Masayoshi Son. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala also took part in the latest financing, the people familiar with the matter said. Didi is already one of China’s most richly funded private companies: its backers range from the country’s sovereign wealth fund to e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings and Apple.