Didi Chuxing has caught the eye of Booking Holdings, with a
$500 million capital injection and a major strategic partnership.
The China-based ground transportation specialist, covering
taxis and ride-hailing and sharing services, is working with the Booking.com
owner to "offer more comprehensive and personalized quality travel
services around the world."
As part of the investment, Booking Holdings will gain on-demand
car services on its selection of mobile applications.
In turn, Didi users will get access to accommodations
inventory supplied via Booking.com and Agoda.
Didi has been on an intensive capital-raising road for the
last two years, having attracted around $17.5 billion from a broad range of
backers, including Apple, Foxconn Technology and Mubadala Investments.
In the last eight months alone, it secured a $4 billion deal
in December and a corporate round of $264.8 million in April.
Total funding to date for the five-year-old company is
almost $21 billion.
The company has its core user base in China and other Asia
Pacific countries, but it has also turned its eye westward during 2018 with a
$900 million deal to take over Brazilian service 99.
Todd Henrich, senior vice president and head of corporate
development for Booking Holdings, says: "Didi has clear advantages in
technology and scale in the shared mobility industry."
"We believe that together we can offer smarter
transportation services to our brands' customers, and help Didi's customers
with seamless access to the products and services the brands in our company
provide throughout the world," Henrich said.
Booking Holdings has already integrated RentalCars.com and
transfer/hailing business RideWays into Booking.com.
It is unclear as yet if the Didi agreement will work
alongside or be included in both of those two brands.
Didi's platform features taxis, buses, ride-sharing, food
delivery, bike rental and chauffeur services.
It claims to have 21 million drivers on its books.