Tag Archives: China

Poly Group invests $400 million in Didi Chuxing 


Competition in the ride-hailing industry heats up as Didi Chuxing, Uber’s main rival in China, raised $400 million from Poly Group. Poly Group is one of China’s state-owned trading and real-estate conglomerates. This latest fundraising leaves Didi with a valuation of around $27.6 billion. Didi Chuxing, formerly known as Didi Kuaidi, dominates the Chinese ride-hailing market at more than 14 million rides per day. In addition to the equity fundraising, China Merchants Bank recently led a syndicated loan of $2.5 billion and China Life Insurance lent $300 million in long-term debt to Didi Chuxing. The company now has more than $10 billion in disposable funds which it intends to use to ramp up its competition with Uber. 

Ele.me raises $1.25 billion from Alibaba and Ant Financial

Alibaba is on an investment spree. After paying $1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Lazada, the Chinese ecommerce giant contributed $900 million to Ele.me’s latest funding round. Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, contributed $350 million. Ele.me, which translates to “Are you hungry now?”, is a food delivery platform based in Shanghai. It previously raised $630 million from Didi Kuaidi at a $3 billion valuation in August. Its total funding is now $2.34 billion, making it China’s third most funded startup.

You can read about the funding here.

Alibaba acquires the South China Morning Post

The publishing world is abuzz over the purchase of Hong Kong’s iconic newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP) by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba. The $266 million deal includes the 112-year-old English-language newspaper and other media properties such as outdoor advertising, digital assets and magazines. According to analysts, the acquisition of SCMP is a political move. By owning SCMP, Alibaba aims to improve and reshape the image of China, directly addressing what it calls the “wrong” portrayal of their home country in Western media. In short, the acquisition is about making China look good in the eyes of Western readers. Although the newspaper is not covered by China’s strict censorship rules, the acquisition will most likely heighten self-censorship, specially on controversial political issues.

Can Uber succeed in China?

The rivalry is definitely heating up. Just as Uber raised $1.2 billion for its Chinese operations, its domestic rival Didi Kuaidi is set to raise $3 billion through its latest fundraising round. Both companies are keen on dominating China’s Internet-linked transport market and both are backed by powerful investors. Uber has the support of China’s Internet giant Baidu, while Didi Kuaidi is backed by Alibaba, Tencent as well as sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC). At first glance, it seems Didi Kuaidi already has the upper hand, being a local player and enjoying the support of the Chinese government through CIC. Uber, on the other hand, is not about to play second fiddle. The company announced that it’s building a strong local team so it can assimilate culturally and administratively into China. It also claims it has a market share of 30% to 35%, a significant growth from 1% at the beginning of 2015. Now the question in everyone’s mind is, can Uber dominate the Chinese market? After all, the Chinese government has always favored local startups to foreign companies and there’s a chance that Uber will eventually be muscled out by its local competitor, just like what happened to eBay and Yahoo, which both failed to gain traction in China.