Didi completes over 5.5 bln USD financing round

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Didi's statement did not give details on who provided the fresh funds, but Bloomberg News, quoting people familiar with the situation, said the investors include Japan's SoftBank Group (Hanover: SFT.HA - news), China Merchants Bank, and an arm of China's Bank of Communications.

China's leading on-demand mobility platform Didi Chuxing announced Friday that it had completed a new financing round of over 5.5 billion US dollars to support its global strategy and continued investments in artificial intelligence (AI).

China's leading on-demand mobility platform Didi on Friday said it has completed a new financing round of over $5.5 billion to support global strategy and continued investments in artificial intelligence (AI).

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing raised more than US$5.5 billion from investors, scoring the largest round of funding ever for a technology company to bankroll an expansion beyond China and into driver-less technology. Uber has a roughly 20 percent stake in Didi as a result of the transaction.

Didi, which counts Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings among its investors, was valued at $36 billion in August after merging its operations with rival Uber Technologies Inc.'s China business following a costly battle for customers. And just under a year ago, Apple invested $1 billion in Didi.

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The company delayed announcing the investment, despite many previous reports hinting at it. Didi already made some investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and did some hiring for its AI division in March - the company set up a new AI lab in Mountain View, California to focus on intelligent driving systems, artificial-intelligence-based transport security and self-driving. Didi has won operating licenses in close to a dozen cities including Tianjin and Chengdu, affirming its right to legally operate in China.

Didi drove Uber out of China when the ride-hailing service was unable to turn a profit in the country.

Cheng and President Jean Liu hope that adopting driverless technology will help overcome such hurdles in the future.

The fresh funds will be used for global expansion, driverless auto technology and other advanced transportation technology, the person familiar with the fund raising said. Didi wants to take advantage of data on 300 million users across some 400 cities.

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