China's transport apps move millions in funds

Chinese developers of car service mobile apps, Didi Taxi and Kuaidadi, each secured US$100 million funds in recent months as market players look to tap China's growing online-to-offline (O2O) space.
Written by Liu Jiayi, Contributor

Developers of China's transportation-related apps have received hundreds of millions in investment, as market players look to cash in on the country's growing mobile payment space. 

Didi Taxi, the Chinese copycat version of U.S. on-demand transportation service mobile app Uber, recently received a new round of funds totaling US$100 million, with a financial institution and Internet company among its biggest investors, according to a Tencent report Thursday.

The latest funds injection brings the total investment for the app's Beijing-based developer, Xiaoju Technology, to US$118 million. Chinese Internet giant Tencent and the private equity arm of CITIC Group are the most ardent investors, with the former pumping in US$45 million while CITIC forked out US$60 million.

Facing increasing local competition from similar apps in the market, Didi Taxi plans to use the funds to support subsidies paid out to drivers for its on-demand transportation service. These subsidies range from 10 yuan (US$1.65) to 100 yuan (US$16.5) per trip, noted the Tencent report.

As Uber was widely expected to become a major transportation and logistic service platform and exceed Facebook in terms of value, its Chinese counterparts have been hoping to attract the interest of investors. Didi Taxi's biggest competitor, Kuaidadi, in November revealed that Alibaba and its other investors would pump in US$100 million to beef up its driver subsidies. 

The intensive competition indicates attempts by Chinese Internet giants to grab a share of the country’s bourgeoning mobile payment and online-to-offline (O2O) markets, according to the Tencent report.

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