Dida Inc, a Chinese carpooling service that counts NIO Capital as its biggest institutional investor, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong on Thursday to tap the public market one step earlier than the country’s longstanding market player Didi Chuxing.
The company could become Asia’s first carpooling firm to float shares on the public market, ahead of its homegrown competitor DiDi, who told Reuters this July that it had no plans for an IPO.
Dida’s prospectus is heavily redacted and did not indicate the size or timetable of the IPO.
Dida, which operates under the brand “Dida Chuxing,” is a tech-driven mobility platform that generates revenues primarily from charging service fees to private car owners providing carpooling rides on its platform.
Instead of owning any fleet vehicles, the firm bridges about 19.2 million registered private car owners with customers across 366 cities in China. It was the largest carpooling marketplace in China with a market share of 66.5 per cent in 2019, according to a Frost & Sullivan report cited in its prospectus.
Beijing-based Dida has become profitable since 2019. Its revenue was 117.6 million yuan ($17.5 million) and 580.6 million yuan (86.6 million) in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Its revenue in the first half of 2020 stood at 310.5 million yuan ($46.3 million).
The firm’s adjusted net profit was 172.4 million yuan ($25.7 million) and 150.8 million yuan ($22.5 million) in 2019 and the six months ended June 30, 2020, respectively, representing an adjusted net profit margin of 29.7 per cent and 48.6 per cent for the same periods, respectively.
Before filing for the IPO, Dida had completed a Series D round at 200 million yuan ($29.8 million) led by NIO Capital, the technology fund co-launched by Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) manufacturer NIO in August 2017.
It had closed a $100-million Series C round led by Hong Kong-based middle-market PE firm China Renaissance Capital Investment (CRCI) in July 2015, following a Series B round led by Beijing-based IDG Capital and New York-listed Chinese car comparison website Bitauto in the same April.
Its prospectus shows that the company co-founders hold a total of about 34.4 per cent shares through 5brothers Limited. NIO Capital is the largest institutional investor with a 21.6 per cent stake, followed by IDG Capital at 10.2 per cent, CRCI at 7.1 per cent, and Bitauto at nearly 5.0 per cent.
Asia-focused PE major Hillhouse Capital, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, and Nasdaq-listed travel services provider Trip.com also hold shares in the firm.
China’s Haitong International Capital and Japanese financial service firm Nomura International are joint sponsors on the deal.