Didi autonomous driving completed a new round of financing of more than 300 million US dollars, GAC Group invested 200 million US dollars

According to reports, Didi Autopilot is about to complete a new round of financing, with a financing amount of more than 300 million US dollars, of which GAC Group invested 200 million US dollars (GAC Group invested 100 million US dollars directly, and GAC Capital’s funds invested 100 million US dollars). People familiar with the matter said that after the investment, Didi’s self-driving valuation will surpass that of Pony.ai.

In May last year, Didi Autonomous Driving announced that it had completed its first round of financing of over US$500 million. This is the first external financing of Didi Autopilot since its establishment, and it is also the largest single financing obtained by a domestic autopilot company. The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund Phase 2.

Didi autonomous driving completed a new round of financing of more than 300 million US dollars, GAC Group invested 200 million US dollars

In 2016, Didi began to invest in autonomous driving R&D and testing. In August 2019, Didi upgraded its autonomous driving division to a company. Didi has obtained road test qualifications in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, and California in the United States, and obtained the first batch of “Intelligent Connected Vehicle Demonstration Application” licenses in Shanghai, which can carry out manned tests. Didi Autopilot is working with Didi’s Xiaoju Car Service and Didi Finance to explore overall solutions for future travel, including the establishment of smart charging piles, fleet maintenance, insurance and other projects.

Didi is not regarded by the industry as a leading company in autonomous driving technology, but the financing amount and valuation of the business have exceeded Pony.ai. Pony.ai is one of the self-driving startups that is considered to be the most technologically powerful in the industry. According to public information, as of February 2021, Pony.ai has raised a total of over US$1.1 billion, with a valuation of over US$5.3 billion. Didi also surpassed the $4 billion valuation of Uber’s self-driving business when it was sold late last year.

Didi’s self-driving business is highly valued for obvious reasons – as China’s largest travel platform, Didi has a data advantage and is easier to commercialize. Didi Autopilot COO Meng Xing said in an interview with the media including “LatePost” that Didi has a large number of scenes and data, and can iterate the algorithm faster. When the software algorithm matures, Didi can also cold start faster.

Approaching the listing, Didi continued the idea of ​​​​the past car-hailing wars-continuous financing, using capital leverage to compete with competitors. Didi separately financed orange heart optimization, freight, two-wheeled vehicles and other businesses, and kept raising more money in exchange for a survival advantage.

Unlike Uber and Lyft, Didi has opted to continue investing in the self-driving business. In addition to investment, company executives, including Didi founder and chairman Cheng Wei, also often serve as platforms for autonomous driving-related cooperation. However, after the listing, Didi will also face the same pressure as Uber and Lyft to improve business efficiency and turn losses into profits.

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