Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing today announced that it has scooped up $4 billion from various investors in a fresh funding round. These funds will be used for several initiatives including international expansion and strengthening research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) development.
The details of the investors were not revealed, but close sources claimed that SoftBank and Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Capital are among the other high profile investors that have participated in this round.
According to reports, the fresh investment will raise Didi’s valuation to $56 billion, a healthy increment on $50 billion valuation mark that was reached in April when it received $5.5 billion in fresh investment. Interestingly enough, a fresh spike in Didi’s valuation would take it almost close to the market valuation of its arch-rival Uber, whose fortunes have taken a hit owing to series of scandals over the last few months.
Didi, as is now well known, mauled Uber in Mainland China, after it acquired Uber’s China business last year. The acquisition meant that Uber was forced to pack its bag and make an unceremonious exit from the Chinese market.
Meanwhile, Didi’s latest planned investment in AI and international expansion is not a new phenomenon. The Chinese behemoth always considered these two areas as the most critical for consolidating its business. It has already made heavy investments in AI by opening a dedicated AI lab in the U.S. It also made significant hires in 2016 in order to sharpen its focus on AI.
As for the international expansion, it has picked up significant stakes in companies that compete with Uber across the globe. This includes Lyft in the U.S., Taxify in Latin America and Europe and Ola in India. However, unlike Uber, it has so far shied from making actual market expansion across the global market.
There have been some mixed reports in the media that the company is thinking to enter the Mexican market while Bloomberg claimed earlier this week that it may enter into Taiwanese market through Franchise models.