(Yicai Global) June 3 -- The investment currently being raised by Didi Chuxing, China's leading ride-hailing operator, in its latest round of fundraising has surpassed that of rival Uber Technologies Inc., said President Jean Liu.
"The total amount of funds already raised is far greater than the USD3.5 billion just announced by Uber in its new round of financing," Ms. Liu told an audience at the Code Conference in California.
The USD3.5 billion, from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, is a record investment for San Francisco-based Uber, which made its announcement yesterday. In May, Apple Inc. invested USD1 billion in Didi.
A fierce turf battle is being fought in China by ride-hailing firms including Didi Chuxing, Uber and Ucar Technology Inc. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in February that his company is losing USD1 billion a year competing with Didi, which itself also lost an estimated USD1 billion last year.
Didi has always sought a strategic investor such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0700] or Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] because the field of mobile travel apps has only just started and the penetration rate in the Chinese market is just 1 percent, said Ms. Liu.
Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, and affiliate Ant Financial Services Group are seeking to invest USD200 million each in preferred stock of Didi Chuxing, according to Alibaba's earnings report for fiscal 2015. They have yet to receive a positive response from Didi Chuxing, which is operated by Beijing Xiaoju Technology Co.
"Despite the huge space, Didi can't do it single-handedly," she said. "What Didi needs is a collaborator who can bring the biggest strategic value."
Didi Chuxing now covers more than 400 cities in China and has started to make a profit in more than 200 of them, said Ms. Liu. Additionally, Didi is also cooperating with mobile travel apps from other countries, including Grab in Southeast Asia, Lyft in the US and Ola in India.