China’s largest ride-hailing service, DiDi Chuxing, is to invest $1 billion in its auto-services business, it announced on Monday. It comes as part of a larger unit rebranding and will be consolidated under a new business called Xiaoju Automobile Solutions Co., according to Reuters.
This year has seen major changes for the six-year old company, headquartered in Beijing. It was approved to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California, and made inroads in Latin America and Australia. In 2016, DiDi bought rival Uber’s China business.
Many familiar with DiDi anticipate that it is preparing for an IPO early next year, a fact that the Chinese giant has yet to confirm.
The auto services business it’s investing in incorporates auto leasing, car maintenance and gas station services. DiDi’s auto services platform has been built together with some 7,500 partners, the company says. The platform generated an annualized gross merchandise volume of RMB 37 billion ($5 billion) in April and is expected to achieve an annualized GMV above RMB 90 billion ($13 billion) by the end of 2018, according to company figures.
The Chinese conglomerate, which started life as a taxi-hailing app, says its next move will be to branch out into the broader transportation sector, such as bike-sharing and food delivery.
Correction, Aug. 7, 2018: An earlier version of this article understated DiDi’s annualized gross merchandise volume and the number of partners for its auto services platform. It also misstated the year the company acquired Uber’s China business. We regret the errors.