Chinese ride-hail app Didi Chuxing eyes $4b New York IPO

by AFP

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing plans to raise up $4 billion in a US initial public offering, which would reportedly be one of the biggest in the country in the past 10 years.

The move also comes despite simmering China-US tensions, with the technology sector a key issue of disagreement.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday, the company — under the name Xiaoju Kuaizhi — said it would put 288 million American depository receipts up for sale priced at $13-$14. A sale at the top end would value the firm at more than $60 billion.

The IPO would be the sixth-biggest in the United States in the past decade, according to Bloomberg News. 

However, when it filed to list earlier this month, the firm warned that tensions between the US and China was an ongoing risk for its business, as was the possibility of action over antitrust regulations as Beijing cracks down on some of its biggest tech giants.

Didi Chuxing — which claims to have more than 15 million drivers and nearly 500 million users — is often the easiest and quickest way to call a ride in crowded Chinese cities.

Its services are now available in 16 countries, including Russia and Australia.

Founded in 2012 by Cheng Wei, a former executive at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the app has dominated the local ride-hailing market ever since it won a costly turf war against US titan Uber in 2016 and took over its local unit.

Its largest institutional shareholder is Japanese investment fund Softbank, which holds a 21.5 percent stake.

Previous filings showed the firm suffered a loss of $1.6 billion in 2020 as it was battered by strict Covid-19 pandemic measures and travel restrictions to tackle the virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019.

But it saw a net profit of $800 million in the first three months of this year, with the outbreak now largely under control in China, its key market.