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IPO

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi files for mega IPO in US

SoftBank, Uber and Tencent listed as largest backers

Didi Chuxing is China's biggest ride-hailing company, while Japan's SoftBank Group is its top shareholder. (Photo courtesy of Didi)

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Didi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing company, filed Thursday to go public in the U.S. in what is expected to be one of the year's largest initial public offerings in tech.

Didi, which filed under its formal name of Xiaoju Kuaizhi Inc., could be valued at around $70 billion to $100 billion in the IPO, Nikkei previously reported. Thursday's registration statement said Didi plans to offer American depositary shares on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DIDI.

Founded in 2012 by Cheng Wei and Jean Liu, Didi operates in 15 countries and serves more than 493 million annual active users on its global platform, according to the filing. Cheng is now CEO of Didi, while Liu -- daughter of Lenovo Group founder Liu Chuanzhi -- serves as president.

The company has established a strong lead in the Chinese ride-hailing market after acquiring main rival Uber China in 2016. Its mobility technology platform now boasts 377 million annual active users and 13 million annual active drivers there.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group is Didi's top shareholder, with a 21.5% stake through the SoftBank Vision Fund. The telecommunications giant has reportedly invested nearly $11 billion in the ride-sharing company, fueling its expansion across the world as well as into new areas like autonomous driving and grocery delivery. SoftBank could pocket billions in profit if Didi fetches the targeted valuation.

Uber Technologies, which holds a 12.8% stake in the company after selling the Chinese operations to Didi, is the company's second-largest shareholder. Tencent Holdings owns a 6.8% interest.

Apple invested $1 billion in Didi in 2016 as part of a strategic partnership. An Apple executive serves as a director at Didi. But the iPhone maker is not listed as a principal shareholder in the filing.

Due to the disruption from COVID-19, Didi has reported a $1.6 billion loss for 2020. But it has been profitable this year. The company logged an $837 million overall net profit for the first quarter ended March 31 on revenue of $6.4 billion.

China remains the company's main revenue driver, with foreign markets accounting for just 1.6% of its total revenue.

But Didi has invested heavily in international expansion, including launching food delivery service in Japan in April 2020. It is now the second-largest ride-hailing platform in Latin America, the filing shows.

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