Didi’s bike-sharing unit Qingju rakes in $600m in Series B round

Source: Didi Chuxing

Qingju, the bike-sharing unit of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, has raised $600 million in its Series B round of financing and is set to raise another $400 million in loans, DealStreetAsia has learnt.

The development was first reported by 36Kr, the Chinese-language media platform of Nasdaq-listed 36Kr Holdings, that cited sources privy to the information.

When contacted, a Didi spokesperson said: “DiDi Bike (Qingju) has recently completed a Series B fundraising round. With the new investment, we will continue to improve mid- and short-distance travel in cities by providing efficient, safe and reliable bike-sharing services to the users. We will also work with industry partners to further explore a sustainable future of bike-sharing.”

Names of investors in the Series B round and providers of the loans could not be ascertained. The spokesperson did not divulge details of the new financing round.

The Series B round follows Qingju’s initial funding round in April 2020. This nascent bike-sharing business had concluded $1 billion in its maiden funding round, US news outlet The Information had reported, citing unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the deal. The previous investment consisted of $850 million from Didi itself and $150 million from venture capital firm Legend Capital and SoftBank.

Qingju, which started operations in 2018, is now one of the three major players competing toe-to-toe against Hellobike and Meituan Bike for a larger share in China’s bike-sharing market. The market is estimated to have 569 million users, according to market researcher iiMedia Research.

Shanghai-based Hellobike, backed by Alibaba’s fintech spin-out Ant Group, recorded operations in over 460 cities in China as of October 2020. Meituan Bike was originally Mobike before being acquired by food delivery giant Meituan for $2.7 billion in April 2018 and later rebranded in 2019.

Didi has registered nearly 600 million users and driver partners, as well as 13,000 corporate employees as of 2020-end.

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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).

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  • 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.