The ride-hailing industry’s relentless march to own all the world’s currency continued today as Didi Chuxing, Uber’s main rival in China, raised $7 billion in new funding, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Among those investing in Didi is Apple, which announced recently it would provide $1 billion to the Chinese company. The investment raised a number of eyebrows, as Didi is locked in a tight battle with Uber for control of China’s competitive ride-hailing market. Didi says it has 300 million users on its platform and completes 14 million rides every day. As such, it claims to be the “world’s largest mobile tech-based transportation platform” with control of over 87 percent of the Chinese market.
This latest fundraising round leaves Didi with the valuation of $25 billion, compared to Uber’s $62.5 billion. The Chinese company will have more than $10 billion of capital on hand, leaving it flush with cash to ramp up its competition with Uber, the Journal says.
The news comes on the heels of Uber’s move to raise up to $2 billion in high-risk leveraged loans from institutional investors, an untraditional move for a technology startup. Uber also recently received a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the largest single investments made in a technology company ever.
But while Didi strengthens its position in China, it is also looking to expand its reach across the globe. Last year, the Chinese company teamed up with Lyft, Uber’s main US-based rival, and two other Asian ride-hail apps — India's Ola and Southeast Asia's Grab — to form an anti-Uber alliance. And as of last April, Didi users traveling in the US could start using their app to hail a Lyft car. Soon, Lyft users will be able to hail a Didi car in China with the same seamless integration.
Last week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told an audience in Berlin that the company is profitable in the developed world, but "massively unprofitable" in developing nations. And several months ago, he told a Canadian newspaper that Uber was losing around $1 billion a year in China alone.