Didi, Hellobike refill war chest as competition in mobility sector heats up

REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is reportedly raising $2 billion from investors while bike-sharing firm Hellobike secured $400 million in an Ant Financial-led funding round as part of efforts to beef up their war chest as competition in the sector escalates.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Beijing-based Didi plans to sell additional shares to raise $2 billion, which should raise the seven-year-old firm’s paper valuation to around $62 billion.

The latest fundraising move by Didi, the biggest players in China’s ride-hailing market, comes as the company continues to suffer widening losses on its balance sheet.

The company is burning vast amounts of cash – up to $1.5 billion last year – as it faces stiff local competition, regulatory hurdles and a public backlash involving the deaths of two passengers in its cars last year.

Last July, Didi was in talks with SoftBank and other investors to raise capital for its self-driving cars business. SoftBank, Didi’s largest shareholder, has previously expressed interest in self-driving cars.

In a separate report, Chinese media QQ said bike-sharing firm Hellobike raised $400 million in a funding round led by Ant Financial, giving the company a paper valuation of $5 billion.

Hellobike tapped investors at least twice last year, completing a 4 billion yuan ($596 million) round as recently as December, according to Chinese news publication Jiemian. Co-founder Li Kaizhu said in a January interview that the company would seek a future initial public offering without specifying a time-frame.

Hellobike, China’s third-largest bike-sharing company, earlier partnered with Ant Financial and CATL to invest 1 billion yuan ($144.5 million) to establish an e-bike battery joint venture.

Hellobike was merged with Youon Bike in 2017 and funded by Alibaba Group. The company has managed to remain a standalone entity and now has 200 million registered users.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.