Taxi hailing app Didi Kuaidi raises US$2b


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BEIJING: China’s top taxi hailing app Didi Kuaidi announced yesterday it raised US$2 billion (RM7.62 billion) in two weeks, after reports said US rival Uber planned to invest US$1.1 billion in the country this year.

Didi Kuaidi, which is backed by technology giants Alibaba and Tencent and calls itself the world’s largest one-stop mobile-based transport network, said its fundraising attracted “tremendous interest” from global investors. It is looking to raise “a further few hundred million dollars” from new investors in the coming month, it added.

“The fact that global investors are eager to participate in this fundraising round shows their confidence in the development of our company,” Cheng Wei, chief executive officer and chairman of the company, said in a statement.

The popularity of private car booking enterprises such as Didi Kuaidi and San Francisco-based Uber has soared in China, where traditional taxis are criticised for poor service with rude drivers who routinely ignore customers on the street.

For now the Chinese firm dominates the market, but the two are locked in a fierce battle for customers, offering both riders and drivers subsidies and discounts that are costing the companies vast sums.

Uber, which launched operations in China last year, said in a message to investors last month that it planned to invest seven billion yuan (RM4.28 billion) in China, the Financial Times reported previously.

Uber riders were making almost one million trips per day with business doubling in the previous month, its CEO Travis Kalanick said, adding the company plans to add 50 cities into its operational network, from the current 11. But Didi Kuaidi’s Cheng was confident that the company’s “clear competitive advantages” built “through its integrated platform, technology and team” would see it win out. — AFP


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 9, 2015.