Anticipated to be one of the biggest tech IPOs of 2021, Didi IPO could fetch the company a $100 billion valuation while raising $10 billion.
Didi Chuxing, founded in 2012 by Cheng Wei, filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) under its formal name Xiaoju Kuaizhi Inc. It has become a market leader in the mobility technology industry in a short time, having acquired its biggest competitor, Uber’s China unit, in 2016. In return, Uber now has a 12.8% stake in Didi. Other high-profile investors include tech giants SoftBank Group Corp with a 21.5% stake in the company, and Tencent Holdings Ltd, which holds 6.8% of the company. Despite constant competition in the ride-hailing industry, Didi has managed to stay dominant through its continuous expansion in providing related services using top-notch technology.
Like other industries disrupted by the pandemic, Didi, too, suffered huge losses estimated at $1.6 billion for 2020. Its net profit contracted by almost 10% between 2019 and 2020, thanks to the pandemic that reduced passengers and affected business across countries. However, the first quarter of 2021 brought good news as it saw an astounding 107% growth and doubling of revenue, earning a profit of $30 million. Like major tech startups, Didi has seen losses in its 8 years of existence, however, it still reins the country’s ride-hailing industry.
Didi Chuxing has its operations in 15 countries across Africa, South America, Asia and Europe, including China, although a vast customer base comprises the Chinese population. In addition to providing app-based transportation facilities, Didi also offers food delivery, financial and automobile services. The Beijing based company has also worked in partnership with BYD Co. Ltd., a Chinese automobile manufacturer, to develop electric cars, specifically engineered for their ride-hailing business. Not just that, the company has also been a part of the strategic partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group to design, develop and manufacture autonomous electric vehicles.
In the Founder’s Letter submitted alongside the filing, CEO Cheng owned the company’s mistakes and failings, notably the rape and deaths of two female passengers and the plight of drivers who face unfair treatment. The letter mentions the solutions adopted to overcome the shortcomings that include redesigning over 200 app features, installation of safety-enhancing mechanisms and devices and the establishment of a SWAT Team that would respond to all safety incidents on a real-time basis.
With such a revaluation and improvement of existing services, Didi is all set to take advantage of the vast investment market in the US With the Covid effects diminishing and the universal rollout of vaccinations, the ride-hailing services have already hit the market like never before and Didi plans to make the most of it through the strategic use of its IPO proceeds. More than a quarter will go towards developing technological competencies while an equal share will be put on international expansion efforts. Roughly 20% of the proceeds will be used to develop new offerings, and the rest will be put to use for corporate activities.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan are chosen as the lead underwriters for the IPO.