SoftBank and Legend Capital have invested $150 million in Qingju, Didi Chuxing’s bike-sharing unit, marking the first time the unit raised funding from outside investors, the Information reported Monday, citing sources.
Last week, a Reuters report citing sources said that the bike-sharing unit had raised more than $1 billion in its latest round. The Information said that the unit received $850 million of that amount from Didi itself.
Both SoftBank and Didi declined to comment on a DealStreetAsia query. Legend Capital did not immediately respond to DealStreetAsia’s emailed requests for comment.
SoftBank is already a major shareholder of Didi.
SoftBank first invested in Didi Chuxing’s $4.5-billion funding round in 2016 and then made an additional investment in 2017 when it backed the Chinese firm’s $4-billion round. In March 2019, SoftBank said it would invest another $1.6 billion in Didi despite mounting losses of as much as 10.9 billion yuan in fiscal 2018.
SoftBank was also believed to be near a deal last month to lead a $300-million investment in Didi’s autonomous driving unit, according to a report by the Information, citing sources.
In general, ride-hailing companies have been hard-hit during the COVID-19 viral outbreak.
Data from Aurora Mobile in February this year showed that daily average users on Didi’s app fell more than 50 per cent over the Lunar New Year period after news of the virus emerged. The app was also suspended in a number of Chinese cities as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Bike-sharing as a business model has struggled across multiple countries. Many players have sprouted up in China only to fold. Even larger bike-sharing players, such as Ofo, have struggled. Ofo has reportedly shifted from bike-sharing to e-commerce.