Didi Chuxing secures $4bn to fund worldwide expansion

Uber's Asian rival now worth $50bn after fresh $4bn fundraising round

China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has raised over US$4 billion (S$5.4 billion) in its latest round of funding, the company said on Thursday, posing a challenge to its United States rival Uber in its efforts to branch out overseas.

Didi said it plans to use the funds to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence in areas such as big data analysis, to expand its overseas operations and to build a transportation network with "new energy vehicles", as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are called in China. While the company has focused on shoring up its grip on ride-sharing in China, it has started to look beyond the mainland and is turning to franchising in Taiwan. The two firms declared a stalemate in China previous year following an exhausting price war, with each company agreeing to invest in each other last August.

The investment would extend Didi's valuation to $56bn.

The company, which has announced plans to expand internationally earlier this year, establishing an global arm in February.

The ride-hailing firm said that "there is no definitive timeline" on expansion to the region.

The new investment will also help Didi to challenge its rival Uber.

Last month, Uber was said to be worth $54 billion.

In a very brief statement announcing the funding, Didi said that "Chinese and worldwide institutions joined the latest fundraising round".

In an email to CNBC, Softbank of Japan said that it participated in the funding, but did not disclose the amount it had invested.

The investment firm entered the tech sector in 2007 with an investment in semiconductor maker Advanced Micro Devices.

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