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Ridesharing giant Didi revamps app amid Hong Kong IPO speculation

According to reports on Tuesday, Didi is postponing Hong Kong listing plans, with VP Li Min saying IPO is not a priority.

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China’s biggest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has been refining its flagship app, rebranding its carpooling service as “Qingcai Pinche” (“green carpooling” in Chinese) and adding a truck logistics option in some cities, as the ridesharing giant is reportedly seeking an IPO in Hong Kong at a targeted USD 80 billion valuation.

Beijing-based Didi now offers fare discounts if cars are late—users will pay RMB 1 less for every three minutes of delay. Qingcai Pinche received its own logo and a separate tab on the Didi app where users can book the service and set an estimated time. Since its launch in 2015, Didi’s carpooling service counted 2.9 billion customers in total, mainly thanks to its attractive price.

Didi is also ramping up its nascent cargo shipping service, “Huoyun” in Mandarin, which it began promoting about a month ago in Hangzhou and Chengdu. Since the beginning of the week, Didi app users in Beijing can get coupons for the service and the company will consider a launch if the initiative garners enough interest.

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The company has already become much more than a pure ride-hailing app. Its services now include various price options and designated drivers, carpooling, car rental, bike-sharing, Hitch (which lets passengers save on fare by hailing a driver who is already going in the same direction), financial products such as personal loans and car insurance, auto supplies, and public transportation tracking.

Local financial news outlet Cailianshe wrote on Monday that Didi is considering an IPO in Hong Kong by the end of this year, targeting at a valuation of HKD 600 billion (USD 80 billion). Caixin reported on Tuesday, that Didi is postponing its Hong Kong listing plans. Li Min, a VP of marketing, posted on WeChat that the IPO is not a priority for the firm. Didi now has a cash pile of over RMB 50 billion (USD 7.17 billion) but some investors reportedly want to exit.

Didi acquired Uber’s China business in 2016 in a deal worth USD 35 billion and gained a dominating position in the domestic market while also expanding outside of China. In May, president Jean Liu Qing claimed in an interview with CNBC that its core ride-hailing business is profitable, at a time when Western counterparts Uber and Lyft were struggling and laying off staff due to COVID-19.