Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is in the process of raising up to USD 500 million for its self-driving unit, Didi Woya, at a valuation of USD 6 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing an anonymous source.
The new money will likely be used to accelerate the mass production of autonomous vehicles, and boost the R&D in technologies like AI chips, said the article. The company is reportedly seeking a New York IPO within this year.
Founded in 2016 and spun off from its parent in 2019, Didi Woya earlier this year bagged USD 300 million from a series of investors including IDG Capital, following a USD 500 million angel round from SoftBank’s Vision Fund last May.
Compared to other robotaxi startups like WeRide and AutoX, who are building their driverless fleets, brand reputation, and operating system from scratch, Didi Woya benefits from its parent Didi Chuxing, which runs the biggest ride-hailing network in the country, according to analysis from local news media AI Drive.
With a daily order volume of 60 million, Didi is able to provide massive data for simulation training, which is crucial to prepare driverless cars for complex conditions. Furthermore, the Beijing-based company has served billions of users in the past eight years, offering a mature platform to onboard self-driving ride-hailing options in the future.
Didi currently holds open-road testing licenses in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, and Hefei in China, as well as California.
This article is part of KrASIA’s “Key Stat” series, where KrASIA picks and presents the most significant figures of the day’s technology and business world.