China’s ride hailing app Didi Chuxing just raised over US$5 billion, more than it would need for its China operation. After kicking Uber out of China, Didi might be preparing to go after the US company on a global scale, suggests managing director of the Chinaccelerator William Bao Bean to Bloomberg.
Didi’s record funding round is said to value the company at more than US$50b and gives it a war chest to ramp up efforts to harness artificial intelligence, build driverless cars, and compete more aggressively in foreign markets.
The cash infusion coincides with a rough period for Uber, which is facing lawsuits and an image problem, and follows a detente in China after Uber agreed to essentially cede the market to Didi in exchange for a significant stake.
“The bruising battle with Uber taught [Didi] a lot,” said William Bao Bean, a Shanghai-based partner at venture capital fund SOSV. “Now it’s battle-hardened, and can buy the best talent in the world to attempt to go big in China, and also go global.”…
Didi has expanded outside its home turf mostly by making investments or forming partnerships with ride-hailing companies such as Grab in Singapore, Ola in India and Lyft in the US.
For Uber, which is present on every populated continent, India represents its largest overseas market and a pivotal battleground.
As Didi develops its autonomous driving technology, it could have the capacity to knit together a far-flung global network of allies, focused on developing markets in Asia and the Middle East, Bao Bean said.
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