China's Didi raises over US$5.5 billion in record tech funding

Didi's valuation makes it top in Asia and number two in the world after

Chinese ride-hailing giant, Didi Chuxing is raising between $5 and $6 billion in a funding round that would value the company at around $50 billion, according to various reports. Uber China, a regional subsidiary of the ride-hailing service, merged with Didi in a deal worth $35 billion last August.

The new valuation of more than US$50 billion would make Didi China's second-most valuable privately owned firm. Didi Chuxing will also use the funds to research driverless vehicle technology and other high-technology advanced transportation systems.

Softbank, Silver Lake, China Merchants Bank and an arm of Bank of Communications are believed to be among the investors behind the latest injection of funds. While the four-year-old start-up has so far focused on ride-hailing services in the domestic market, it's looking to expand into more countries and invest in technologies from autonomous driving to artificial intelligence.

"Investors' support reflects strong confidence in the vision and stewardship of Didi's management".

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With the launch of Didi Labs in Mountain View, California earlier this year, the company aims to attract more talent and explore new investment opportunities.

According to sources, part of the latest capital investment would be used for worldwide expansion.

Cheng and President Jean Liu hope that adopting driverless technology will help overcome such hurdles in the future.

Didi is China's dominant taxi app business - although it now calls itself a "transportation platform" - and, like many Chinese tech-based businesses - is active beyond China. Last year, Apple also announced a $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing for co-developing a big-data algorithm to drive service and efficiency. It's already lured dozens of stalwarts in the field including former Uber auto-security expert Charlie Miller, known for remotely hacking into a Jeep Cherokee in 2015.

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