Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company, announced its filing for an initial public offering on Thursday, as ride-hailing services began to revive after the pandemic receded.
Founded in Beijing in 2012, Didi started out as a taxi-hailing service before expanding into other forms of transportation. In 2015, it merged with another Chinese competitor, Kuaidi Dache, to form Didi Chuxing.
Didi has since dominated in China. In 2016, Uber, which had spent heavily to develop in China, sold its China operations to Didi. (Uber has been granted a stake in the company.) Didi currently operates in 15 countries, including Brazil and Mexico.
The company’s IPO is likely to come under scrutiny amid another wave of tech offerings and as Beijing begins to rein in domestic tech giants. Didi was valued at $56 billion in 2017, and its investors include Japan’s SoftBank and Mubadala, a state-owned fund in Abu Dhabi.
Didi’s filing, made under its official name, Xiaoju Kuaizhi, shows that revenue fell 8% to $21.63 billion last year due to a drop in passenger numbers 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 a history of losing money.
Didi says that the IPO will finance the expansion.
“We aspire to be a truly global technology company,” Didi founders Cheng Wei and Jean Liu wrote in a letter accompanying the application. “What we’ve learned and built is relevant globally – in Latin America, Russia, South Africa or anywhere where travel is affordable, safe and convenient.”
Other ride-hailing services have reported that business is recovering. Last month, Uber said revenue for the first three months of the year — excluding payment costs — rose 8% from a year ago to $3.5 billion. The company lost $108 million.