SHANGHAI: China's ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing is close to finalising a fund-raising deal that would make it the most valuable start-up in Asia with a value of USD 50 billion.
Didi, founded in 2012, claims nearly 90 percent of China's ride-hailing market after buying rival Uber's assets in the country last year.
The company would raise $5 billion in the new financing agreement, Bloomberg News reported today, quoting people familiar with the deal.
No further details were given. Didi declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
The USD 50 billion valuation would make Beijing-based Didi the most valuable startup in Asia and number two in the world after Uber's USD 68 billion, according to rankings by The Wall Street Journal. It would move Didi past Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is currently second at $46 billion. The Wall Street Journal's rankings were based on companies "that are privately held, have raised money in the past four years and have at least one venture-capital firm as an investor."
China legalised ride-hailing services in July last year and is the world's largest car-hailing market, fuelled by hundreds of millions of mobile-savvy Chinese millennials.
Didi, which completes 20 million rides daily, has sought to expand overseas with an investment into Southeast Asian taxi-booking app Grab last year, following closely on the heels of a tie-up with Uber's US rival Lyft.
But Didi, which has operations in over 400 Chinese cities, has hit obstacles including driving restrictions in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
Didi lists among its investors Apple and Chinese internet titans Alibaba and Tencent.