Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Kuaidi is set to raise about $3 billion through its latest fundraising round, said two people familiar with the matter, just as funding at the Chinese unit of rival Uber Technologies Inc reaches $1.2 billion.
The inflow of cash raises the stakes between two of the world's most valuable start-ups. It also illustrates how investors are undeterred by the two companies spending heavily as they subsidize rides to gain market share, betting on China's Internet-linked transport market becoming the world's biggest.
Didi Kuaidi, which has the largest market share of car-hailing apps in China, in July said it raised $2 billion, and that the amount may rise another "few hundred million" due to what it said was tremendous interest from global investors.
A Didi Kuaidi spokeswoman declined to comment on the latest figure on Monday.
The same day, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick said Uber China has received $1.2 billion, including from previous investor Baidu Inc, as part of ongoing fundraising. He made the comment in an interview with Chinese news website Sina.com which was confirmed by an Uber China spokeswoman.
Kalanick is due to speak in Beijing on Tuesday at the annual corporate conference of Internet search leader Baidu.
Didi Kuaidi's $3 billion fundraising was first reported by Bloomberg News, which cited a person familiar with the matter as saying the round valued Didi Kuaidi at $16.5 billion.
Investors in Didi Kuaidi include Baidu rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Other investors include sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp, Hillhouse Capital, Coatue Management, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, Capital International Private Equity Fund and Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd.
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by John Ruwitch and Christopher Cushing)
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