Company / division: Didi
Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing has raised what Bloomberg says is the largest single funding round ever, apparently to help pay for a long-expected international expansion. Didi now of course owns Uber’s business in China and also received a billion-dollar investment from Apple last year, but has mostly stuck to its home market for now. People in the know have been saying it was going to start trying to build a business outside of China for some time, so this move isn’t that surprising, but it’s almost certain to bump up against its part owner Uber in at least some markets given the latter company’s international reach, which could get interesting. Big Chinese tech companies have mostly failed to expand much beyond China with the exception of those selling cheap electronics, and Didi will face an uphill battle in ride sharing markets internationally unless it partners with local players (possibly including Uber). I’m very curious to see which markets it goes after and how.
Didi has opened a self-driving lab in the U.S. with famed Jeep hacker Charlie Miller – Recode (Mar 8, 2017)
This seems like a smart move – even though there are lots of talented engineers in China, the nexus for development of autonomous driving today has to be either Silicon Valley or Detroit, so putting a base of operations in the former makes a lot of sense. There’s no evidence here that Didi is otherwise expanding into the US (after all, its new partner Uber is dominant here and that likely wouldn’t go down well), but that’s not to say Didi won’t try to hire from the other companies in the area. It’s already hired Charlie Miller, who came from Uber itself and was best known for having hacked a connected Jeep while it was driving a while back. The competitive intensity in this market, especially over hiring, is only likely to ramp up over time and things will get increasingly nasty as a result (and we’ve already got two lawsuits underway).