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Didi Chuxing completes $7.3B financing round that includes Apple’s $1B investment

TechCrunch TechCrunch 15/06/2016 Catherine Shu

Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing app in China, confirmed today that it has closed a $7.3 billion financing round that includes its recent investments from Apple and China Life. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, whose sources say Didi Chuxing’s valuation is now pegged at more than $25 billion.

The round includes $4.5 billion in equity from Apple, China Life, Ant Financial, as well as returning investors Tencent, Alibaba, China Merchants Bank, and SoftBank. The remaining capital consists of $2.5 billion in debt financing from China Merchants Bank and a $300 million long-term debt investment from China Life, the country’s largest insurance company.

Didi Chuxing announced investments of $1 billion from Apple and $600 million from China Life a few weeks ago.

Apple’s contribution came as a surprise when it was revealed at the end of May and drew attention to Didi Chuxing’s dominance in China over Uber—but then Uber stole some of Didi Chuxing’s thunder by disclosing a whopping $3.5 billion investment—its largest so far—from the Saudi Arabian government’s main investment fund.

The competing funding news focuses attention on how gigantic the warchests raised by Uber and Didi Chuxing have become. Didi Chuxing said its latest financing round brings the total capital it has raised to $10.5 billion, which it claimed in a press release makes it “one of the world’s best-funded Internet companies.” But Uber has raised even more. According to CrunchBase, the company has landed $14.11 billion in funding so far. Its current valuation is reportedly $62.5 billion.

In China, Didi Chuxing (which was founded by a merger of the country’s two-largest ride apps in 2015) has a wide lead over Uber. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, a government agency, Didi Chuxing currently holds a 87.2 percent share of China’s private-car hailing market. It claims to have 300 million registered users and 15 million drivers on its platform, which completes up to 14 million rides a day.

Uber, on the other hand, is spending $1 billion a year to build its China business (called Uber China). Founder and chief executive officer Travis Kalanick said in March that he believes Uber China will become profitable in two years.

The massive amount of cash each company is burning through in order to dominate China has led to speculation that Uber and Didi Chuxing may merge, but both companies have denied any interest in a union.

In a statement, Didi Chuxing co-founder and CEO Cheng Wei said, “In just four years, Didi has created a firm lead in China’s mobile transportation sector. With our advantages in technology, platform synergies, and talented team, Didi is prepared to continue this momentum of growth.”

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