China's Didi to raise $5 bln for overseas expansion

Chuxing is seen at its headquarters in Beijing

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, the company that bought Uber's China business previous year, has closed a $5.5 billion funding round, valuing the company at over $50 billion, making it one of the world's most valuable private technology companies.

Didi Chuxing is said to have received between $5 and $6 billion of fresh funds in the last round.

The round is believed to value Didi at about United States dollars 50 billion, ahead of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi that is valued at USD 46 billion. Like other technology companies including Uber and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, it is looking to expand into autonomous cars as technology disrupts traditional transportation solutions, opening a research and development lab in Silicon Valley this March.

So far, Didi has received over US$10 billion in debt and equity from more than 100 investors including Apple Inc., China Investment Corp, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Didi's expansion beyond hailing cars is believed to become "increasingly important", due to China's increasingly strict regulations regarding qualifications for the users who drive Didi vehicles.

Didi's new valuation includes its acquisition of Uber's China operations, which it bought past year following a fierce battle between the rivals that was losing both companies money.

Didi Chuxing is based out of Beijing. Internationally the company has partnered with several firms for intelligent driving using AI and smart ride-hailing services.

Cheng and President Jean Liu hope that adopting driverless technology will help overcome such hurdles in the future. "As a global technology leader, Didi is striving to advance the transformation of transportation and automotive industries through active internationalization plans; and bring value to urban transportation markets around the world through cutting-edge big-data capabilities, products and expertise", the company said in a statement. It's already lured dozens of stalwarts in the field including former Uber auto-security expert Charlie Miller, known for remotely hacking into a Jeep Cherokee in 2015.

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