Didi gets over US$4 bln in fresh funding

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Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing announced on Thursday that it has raised more than $4 billion in fresh funding, boosting its ammunition to expand overseas and dealing a blow to its biggest rival, Uber Technologies Inc.

The total funding of Didi, including its last round of funding in April with more than $5.5 billion, will exceed $9.5 billion this year alone, and around $20 billion in total, according to a preliminary estimate.

The company will also surpass its original value of more than $50 billion, strengthening its position as one of world's most valuable startups.

Didi said the latest fundraising will be used to support artificial intelligence capacity-building, international expansion and new business initiatives, including the development of new energy vehicle service networks.

"In the current internet industry, AI is the next frontier of innovation while mobility is one of the business fields that AI can empower quickly. As a competitive mobility company and given that the startup is already mapping out in this promising field, it is no wonder that Didi can raise big amounts of money in such a short time," said Zhang Xu, an independent internet industry analyst.

Investors in the new funding include Japanese tech giant SoftBank Corp and Mubadala Capital, an Abu Dhabi state fund, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The big new funding announcement by the Beijing-based company comes just two days after the ride-hailing conglomerate said it will expand its business beyond the Chinese mainland to Taiwan, with LEDI Technology Co being the local authorized franchisee operator.

"Didi's intensified overseas efforts, including this fresh fundraising, will no doubt pose a great threat to Uber. Uber's valuation is shrinking due to its operation problems while we witness Didi is ascending in overseas markets through cooperating with local partners," Zhang added. In the past few years, Didi Chuxing has been pushing its overseas presence rapidly with investments in several of Uber's rivals globally, including US-based Lyft, Brazil-based 99, India's Ola, Singapore-headquartered Grab, Estonia's Taxify and Careem in the Middle East. It also ended the battle with Uber in the Chinese market last year by acquiring Uber's local business.

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