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$500 Million Fundraising Success For Didi's Self-Driving Unit Led By SoftBank


$500 Million Fundraising Success For Didi's Self-Driving Unit Led By SoftBank
A fundraising round of over $500 million has just been successfully completed by China's ride hailing company Didi Chuxing. This round was led by SoftBank Group's Vision Fund 2 and is aimed for funding the autonomous driving subsidiary of Didi, the Chinese firm said on Friday. 
This was first occasions that external funding was accessed by the autonomous driving business of the ride hailing giant since the business was established as a standalone unit last year, said the Chinese firm in a statement. It added that this latest and successful funding round also represented the single largest fundraising round for companies dealing in autonomous vehicle development in the Chinese market.
The money that will become available from the fundraising round will be put to use for making further investments in the research and development of autonomous driving technology of the company as well as used for testing, and accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving services in the market, Didi said in the statement.
Didi further said in the statement that the company has been granted permission and licenses by related authorities to conduct open-road testing in the cities of California, Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. The Chinese company had first entered the field of self driving vehicle development in 2016.
This round of fundraising for Didi was led by SoftBank even as this Japanese conglomerate has in recent months been selling off other stakes it had  in other tech companies in order to raise cash for stock buybacks that the company has announced to support the price of its shares. In recent quarters, this investment company that is focused on investment in tech companies has been performing poorly as many of its investments in tech companies have faltered. The Japanese company had invested on a host of tech startups including in United States based ride hailing company Uber and in the Indian-based hotel chain Oyo. Many of these businesses have either not done well on the overall or have been significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic related travel restrictions and lockdowns. .
Analysts have however noted that despite the global spread of the covid-19, the disease that is caused by the novel coronavirus, investors have remained interested in making investments in companies dealing with autonomous driving technology development. For example, an additional $750 million in its first external investment round was raised this month by Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet Inc. On the other hand, China’s raised $462 million from investors led by Toyota Motor in February.