Chinese insurance giant China Life Investment Holding Co. has officially joined the ranks of investors behind the country’s largest ride-hailing app and Uber’s biggest global competitor, Didi Chuxing.
The Chinese startup confirmed on Monday that they have received a $600 million USD strategic investment from the life insurer, which includes a $300 million USD equity investment and a further $305 million USD long-term debt investment.
The latest investment also brings to light an interesting twist: China Life has previously invested in Uber. In April 2015 we reported that China Life had invested about $200 million USD in the U.S. ride-hailing app.
The competition between Uber and Didi Chuxing has reached a feverish pitch on the mainland as both companies have publicly disputed each other’s market share data, as well throwing barbs over the ongoing subsidies war driving their local expansion.
It’s not the first time a investor has backed the China-ride-hailing-horse both ways. China-based investment firms Hillhouse Capital and Tiger Global Management have both invested capital in the two competing ride-hailing companies, though the scale of China Life’s dual commitment is unprecedented.
China Life’s investment is part of the same round that Apple participated in when they recently committing $1 billion USD to the ride-hailing app. The closure of the current round would value Didi Chuxing at over $25 billion USD.
China Life is now joins a list of common investors that reads like a who’s who of influential China tech investors. Didi has attracted significant investments from the country’s biggest tech firms, including Alibaba and Tencent, as well as the venture capital arm of fellow insurer Ping An.
China Life also adds to the number of state-backed investors who now have a stake in the ride-hailing company. Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation invested in Didi as part of a $2 billion USD round in August 2015. State-owned China Merchant’s Bank is also a backer of Didi.
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