China’s homegrown Uber competitor Didi Kuaidi — the result of a US$6 billion merger between the country’s two biggest taxi apps last year, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache — has today broken records as it confirmed a US$2 billion funding round that values the company at US$15 billion.
The round is said to be the largest to date for a venture-backed private company in China. The second largest now is the US$1.6 billion round into e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2011.
What is even more surprising is that the company said the round may be extended by “a further few hundred million” to allow in new investors before the end of July.
We had previously reported in June when rumours of the round broke that Didi Kuaidi was on the verge of becoming China’s second-most valuable tech startup after smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is now valued at US$45 billion.
Following the investment, the company said that its cash reserves now stand at US$3.5 billion — a defence against foreign competitor Uber which is also said to be raising a US$1 billion round at a US$50 billion valuation. (Uber is reportedly bleeding cash as it tries to tackle China.)
China: the next frontier
So who’s invested in Didi Kuaidi this time? Unsurprisingly, a handful of existing investors are back: Alibaba, Tencent, Temasek Holdings and Coatue Management. New faces on the scene include Capital International Private Equity Fund, Ping An Ventures and D.E. Shaw Group.
As previously pointed out in our coverage on Airbnb’s latest US$1.5 billion funding round, Asian investors are increasingly looking to investment opportunities in US-based startups — and vice versa: Western funds are looking East.
In a comment given to Reuters, Didi Kuaidi President Jean Liu said the company would remain focussed on China and the transport market, but declined to discuss valuation. The money will be used for upgrading its platform and data science research.
In terms of the battle against Uber, TechCrunch pointed out that while Did Kuaidi dominates the regular taxi market, Uber moves a lot faster on peer-to-peer (P2P) rides — claiming as much as 50 per cent marketshare in this segment versus the homegrown competitor.