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Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing on Thursday filed to go public in what could be one of the largest tech IPOs of this year, positioning large shareholders Uber and SoftBank for a win.
The company reported $21.6 billion in revenue last year. It also posted a profit this past quarter on $6.4 billion in revenue. Specifically, the company reported net income of $837 million before certain payouts to shareholders, and comprehensive net income of $95 million for the quarter.
Uber owns 12.8% of the shares in the company after selling its Chinese ride-hailing business to Didi in 2016, while SoftBank’s Vision Fund holds 21.5%.
Between 2019 and 2020, Didi’s revenue shrunk almost 10% as the Covid pandemic struck China hard last year. However, prior to the pandemic, revenue grew 11% between 2018 and 2019. Additionally, revenue has bounced back in the first quarter as the pandemic recovery is in full swing, with 107% growth in Q1 from the previous year’s quarter.
Some of the company’s profitability in Q1 can be credited to gains on investments of $1.9 billion related to spin-offs and divestments.
By way of comparison, Uber reported a net loss of $108 million on revenues of $2.90 billion in its first quarter. For all of 2020, Uber’s net losses amounted to $6.77 billion on $11.14 billion in revenue.
Didi was most recently valued at $62 billion following an August fundraising round, according to PitchBook data, and is backed by investment giants such as SoftBank, Alibaba and Tencent. Bloomberg reported the company could have a $100 billion valuation at the time of its IPO.
The listing, which could be one of the largest tech debuts globally this year, comes as demand for ride-hailing and travel companies return due to a decrease in Covid-19 cases and a roll out of vaccines. Its American counterparts, Uber and Lyft, have both said they’ll be profitable on an adjusted basis by the end of this year, thanks to the recovery.
Didi acquired Uber’s China business in 2016 in a complicated transaction that involved both companies taking shares in each other. Didi said it sold all of its shares in Uber in November and December of last year.
Founded in 2012, Didi said it has 493 million annual active riders, and 15 million annual active drivers. Didi has been named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 list four times.
(The precise name of the company as registered on the F-1 is Xiaoju Kuaizhi.) Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are underwriting.