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Technology

China’s Didi Chuxing raises $7 billion to fend off Uber

Didi Chuxing
A taxi driver waits at a dedicated stop in China for Didi Chuxing vehicles.
(AP)

China’s dominant ride-hailing and taxi company, Didi Chuxing, has one-upped Uber with its latest funding round, reportedly raising $7 billion just weeks after Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund.

Included in the round is a $1-billion investment from Apple, $600 million from the country’s top life insurer and a $2.5-billion debt package from China Merchants Bank Co., according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation.

Didi Chuxing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The latest funding values the company at $25 billion.

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Both companies have been building their war chests so they can expand faster and recruit more drivers. One of the biggest expenses for both operations is driver subsidies, which let Didi and Uber offer passengers lower fares as they compete for market share. 

Though Didi Chuxing may not have the global footprint or valuation of Uber, the latter of which is available in hundreds of cities around the world and is valued at $62.5 billion, it does have a firm hold of China -- a lucrative market that both firms covet.

Uber sunk $1 billion this year to grow its presence in China, but Didi has fought back at every turn, raising money from powerful investors such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and, most recently, Apple.

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Didi also has the backing of China’s own sovereign wealth fund and, as a homegrown business in a country that has been openly hostile toward foreign technology companies (Facebook and Google are blocked in China), has a cultural and political advantage over Uber. 

Uber has also managed to raise funds in China, securing $1.2 billion last year from Chinese search engine Baidu. The company is also reportedly looking to raise as much as $2 billion in the leveraged loan market.

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tracey.lien@latimes.com

Twitter: @traceylien

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