After beating out Uber on its home turf in 2016, China’s ride-sharing unicorn Didi Chuxing is ramping up its global expansion plans with another multibillion-dollar fundraising round. The company says it has obtained $4 billion in new financing, bringing its total valuation to $56 billion and giving it a cash reserve of $12 billion, Bloomberg reports. That follows $5.5 billion raised earlier this year, with Japanese tech and telecom giant SoftBank emerging as a key participant in both rounds.
- TechCrunch notes: “That valuation is likely higher than Uber’s most recent/ongoing round. While the U.S. firm is estimated to be valued at between $68 billion and $70 billion, SoftBank’s recent invest came at a reported discount of 30 percent. Valuations are, of course, fluctuating, but you can imagine that Didi will crack a wry smile at the milestone at the very least.”
- Where will the money go? Moving into overseas markets, artificial intelligence, and electric car networks were noted in the company’s statement. Didi opened an AI-focused lab in Silicon Valley earlier this year to develop self-driving and security technology.
- While there’s no word of Didi getting into Uber’s stronghold on the U.S. market, other international plans that have been talked about include franchising its business in Taiwan, expanding in Mexico, and backing European player Taxify.
China falls for the charms of an English education / Financial Times (paywall)
The private Westminster School in London has signed an agreement “to set up six new establishments in China in the next decade.”
- Artificial intelligence in phones and self-driving cars
Baidu and Huawei sign strategic agreement to lead the new era of Mobile and AI / Nasdaq
NXP Semiconductors and Baidu partner on Apollo open autonomous driving platform / Reuters
See also Baidu’s own tweet about Apollo being rolled out in the newly created city of Xiong’an.
- Europeans talking tough on trade with China
EU singles out China as distorted state-run economy / Reuters
China says new EU anti-dumping methodology ‘misleading’ / Xinhua
- Overseas infrastructure projects
After delays, ground broken for Thailand-China railway project / Reuters
China eyes role rebuilding Syria while Putin spars with West / Bloomberg
Hinkley Point: The ‘dreadful deal’ behind the world’s most expensive power plant Guardian
- Fly the subsidized skies
China’s airlines fly the world riding on $1.3 billion subsidies / Bloomberg
“Local governments, especially those outside mega cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, spent at least 8.6 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) subsidizing airlines in 2016, mostly for them to start direct services to far-flung places such as New York and Paris.”
- Corporate troubles
New Zealand blocks HNA takeover of ANZ Bank unit / Financial Times (paywall)
Hong Kong arm of China’s LeEco files for liquidation / Reuters
- Bumps on the Belt and Road (?)
China-Kazakhstan border woes dent Silk Road ambitions / Financial Times (paywall)
“Customs processes are actually very fast on the China side. It is getting goods through the Kazakh side that can be very unpredictable and costs twice as much in customs fees,” one trader told the FT.
- Luxury goods
Maybe just all the growth in luxury watches is coming from China / Bloomberg
Your high-quality caviar might just be made in China / TIME