While Uber’s troubles continue to grow and multiply, one of its largest rivals appears to be flourishing. On Thursday, December 21, Chinese company Didi Chuxing, which merged with Uber last year to become the primary ridesharing service in the country, announced its intentions to expand internationally with a new $4 billion funding round. The new cash influx will not only help the company expand its footprint outside of China, but will also help “scale up investments in A.I. talents and technologies,” which the firm will use to bolster its intelligent (read self-driving) capabilities, Didi noted in a press release.
Seeking to “bring more innovative and diversified transportation services to broader communities around the world,” the burgeoning transportation giant noted that it would also “embark on initiatives in building new energy vehicle service networks, as part of the company’s efforts to lead the transformation of automobile and transportation industries and work toward global energy interconnection.”
Investors include Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi state fund, and Japan’s SoftBank, which also recently invested in Uber. The decision by international forces to back Didi seems to suggest the companies growing influence beyond its home market, which could spell trouble for U.S.-based ridesharing services.
While Uber still boasts a higher valuation at $70 billion, Didi’s latest funding round brings its own valuation to $56 billion, per a New York Times source. And given Uber’s current troubles and Didi’s upward trajectory (it was valued at $50 billion just a few months ago), the Chinese company could overtake its American rival.
That said, we shouldn’t be expecting to see Didi cars on American highways anytime soon. While the new funding is said to help the company expand beyond Chinese borders, it seems as though the company may first focus on other Asian markets. For example, Didi recently noted that it was planning on bringing its services to Taiwan via a local partner. All the same, just because Didi may not be operating in other countries doesn’t mean it doesn’t already have an international presence in other respects — the company has invested in a number of other ridesharing firms, including Lyft, Taxify, Careem, Ola, and Grab; these companies operate in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia.
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