Didi, China's Uber, Raises $5.5 Billion in Latest Funding Round

By Liza Lin in Shanghai and Kane Wu in Hong Kong Features Dow Jones Newswires

China's Didi Chuxing Technology Co. said it raised $5.5 billion in a new funding round, which will help fuel its global expansion and push into artificial intelligence.

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The cash infusion brings the Beijing-based ride-hailing company's valuation to more than $50 billion, making it one of Asia's largest startups, according to people familiar with the matter.

Didi, which counts Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings among its investors, was valued at $36 billion in August after merging its operations with rival Uber Technologies Inc.'s China business following a costly battle for customers.

The new funding round includes investments from Menlo Park, CA-based Silver Lake Partners, Tokyo-based Japanese telecom and tech giant SoftBank Corp., Shenzhen-based China Merchants Bank Co. and China's Bank of Communications Co., according to people familiar with the matter.

This funding round makes Didi more valuable than Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi Corp., whose valuation was $46 billion after a funding round in December 2014.

As of fall, Didi said it was handling more than 20 million rides a day. 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.

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The lab, which will focus on intelligent driving technologies and AI-based security, expects to double its team of about 50 staff by year's end. Its larger rival Uber unveiled ambitious plans on Tuesday to test flying cars within three years in the hope of lowering commute times and transportation costs.

Write to Liza Lin at Liza.Lin@wsj.com and Kane Wu at Kane.Wu@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2017 07:50 ET (11:50 GMT)