Chinese largest ride sharing company Didi Chuxing is close to raise a new funding round worth between US$5 billion to US$6 billion from investors including SoftBank Group Corp., Silver Lake Kraftwerk, China Merchants Bank Co. and Bank of Communications Ltd, according to media reports citing insiders.
The round, which will close as soon as this week, will value the four-year-old start-up at US$50 billion post-money, increasing its worth by US$16 billion from the US$34 billion valuation it had last year.
The new investors reportedly will not have traditional voting rights based on an arrangement that allows Didi’s management to retain voting control.
Didi did not respond immediately to an inquiry from China Money Network to confirm the information.
So far, Didi has received over US$10 billion in debt and equity from more than 100 investors including Apple Inc., China Investment Corp, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Last month, Didi was reported to be considering whether to accept a US$6 billion investment from SoftBank, who might either invest itself or from its yet-to-close US$100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, a massive technology investment vehicle seeded with US$45 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and US$25 billion from SoftBank.
Didi Chuxing is said to plan to use the latest proceeds to expand beyond China, as well as seek investment opportunities in the field of autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, areas that the Beijing-based company is moving into aggressively.
In November last year, Didi formed a strategic partnership with Avis Budget Group, an American vehicle rental company, to expand into the international market. Through the partnership, Didi’s users are allowed to access Avis Car Rental and Budget Car Rental vehicles in 175 countries and regions globally.
Two months later, the company made a strategic investment in Brazil’s largest local shared mobility company 99, formerly known as 99Taxis, to expand its footprint to South America.
However, Didi currently only operates its ride sharing services in China. In November last year, it acquired Uber’s Chinese business, as the American ride sharing company departed the Chinese market after less than three years.