China’s top taxi-booking apps are locked and ready to go for 2015 after Kuaidi Dache became the fourth player in its space to raise new funding in the past month. The company announced that it has closed a $600 million financing round that is led by new investor SoftBank.
The round includes participation from existing investors Alibaba and Tiger Global, and it takes Kuaidi Dache’s funding total to $725 million to date. Neither the company nor its investors revealed its post-money valuation.
The two-year-old company claims to have over one million taxis in more than 300 cities in China on its platform. An Analysis International report last year estimated that Kuaidi Dache holds a 54.4 percent share of China’s taxi hailing app market, which is said to have more than 150 million users. Alongside chief rival Didi Dache, the two apps account for nearly 100 percent of the taxi app market, according to the report.
Kuaidi Dache was always likely to be raising funding, having seen so many of its rivals do so. December was a big month for deals: Didi Dache landed a $700 million led by Tencent and DST Global, limo app Yongche raised $60 million and Uber, of course, landed a fresh $1.2 billion — which was later augmented via a strategic investment from Chinese internet firm Baidu.
SoftBank’s involvement is also perhaps unsurprising. It is the Japanese telecom giant’s third deal with a taxi sharing app in Asia in recent months, following a SoftBank-led $210 million round for Ola in India, and a $250 million investment in Southeast Asia-based Grabtaxi.
China’s biggest three internet firms have each picked their partner in the taxi app war
Kuaidi Dache’s new round again highlights that China’s biggest three internet firms (BAT: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) have each picked their partner in the taxi app war.
They look set to continue to funnel more revenues and resources through, only increasing the rivalry and keeping prices competitive.
I’m actually in Beijing right now so I can testify with first hand experience how difficult flagging a taxi down really is. It’s no great surprise that, in a land where mobile tech adoption is fast, millions turn to their smartphones for a solution.
That rise in popular of taxi apps has brought with it attention from the government. This month, authorities cracked down on unlicensed cabs and private cars being used as taxis, but the regulations aren’t affecting the main players significantly for now because they use registered fleets to staff their platforms. Whether the government’s position changes in the future, however, is anyone’s guess.