China ride-hail firm Didi raises $4 billion for global push

China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has raised over $4 billion in its latest round of funding, the company said on Thursday, posing a challenge to its USA rival Uber in its efforts to branch out overseas.

Uber didn't immediately respond to an email request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

Existing investors in the company include Apple, Tencent and Alibaba. The move would mark Didi's first expansion of its services beyond China.

The company said that Chinese and global institutions joined the latest fundraising round but didn't disclose the names of investors participating in the round. These funds will be used for several initiatives including worldwide expansion and strengthening research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) development.

Didi now accounts for 99 per cent of the car-hailing market in China, with 300 million customers in over 400 cities.

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Photo A Didi Chuxing pickup point in Shanghai in 2015. However, Didi ended an experimental service in the USA in November and has since encouraged its customers to download the Lyft app instead.

The ride-hailing company has already raised more than $13bn, with stakeholders including ecommerce rivals Alibaba and Tencent and U.S. tech giant Apple. More than 260,000 electric vehicles are running on Didi's network, and the firm had set up a joint venture to build its own charging networks, the firm's chief executive Cheng Wei said last month.

In the mainland China market, its biggest former competitor Uber exited the domestic market a year ago after Didi took over Uber's China operations.

Didi has also invested in several of Uber's rivals globally, including USA -based Lyft, Brazil-based 99, India's Ola, Singapore-headquartered Grab, Estonia's Taxify and Careem in the Middle East.

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