Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company, announced its IPO on Thursday as ride-hailing services are revitalized as the pandemic subsides.
Founded in Beijing in 2012, Didi started out as a taxi hailing service before expanding into other modes of transportation. In 2015, it merged with another Chinese rival, Kuaidi Dache, to form Didi Chuxing.
Didi has been dominant in China since then. In 2016, Uber, which had spent a lot of money growing in China, sold its Chinese operations to Didi. (Uber has been granted an interest in the resulting company.) Didi now operates in 15 countries, including Brazil and Mexico.
The company’s IPO is likely to be closely scrutinized amid a wave of other technology offerings and as Beijing has begun to contain domestic tech giants. Didi was valued at $ 56 billion in 2017 and its investors include SoftBank of Japan and Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund.
Didi’s filing, under his formal name Xiaoju Kuaizhi, showed revenue fell 8 percent to $ 21.63 billion last year as passenger numbers fell during the pandemic. The company lost $ 1.6 billion last year, despite posting a profit of $ 30 million in the first quarter of this year. Like most ride hailing companies, Didi has been unprofitable in the past.
Didi said an IPO would fund expansion.
“We strive to become a truly global technology company,” wrote Didi’s founders, Cheng Wei and Jean Liu, in a letter accompanying the submission. “What we have learned and built up is relevant worldwide – in Latin America, Russia, South Africa or wherever affordable, safe and comfortable mobility is valuable.”
Other ride hailing services have reported that business has recovered. Last month, Uber said sales for the first three months of the year – excluding the cost of a comparison – were up 8 percent year over year to $ 3.5 billion. The company lost $ 108 million.