China's Didi said to be worth $56B after raising more cash

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Competition in China's booming mobile payment market is set to intensify, after Didi Chuxing, the country's largest ride-hailing company, acquired a much-coveted license to enter the internet finance sector.

According to Reuters, the latest investment valued Didi at over $50 billion, and also equips it with the cash needed to aggressively pursue expansion opportunities overseas.

Didi said it plans to use the funds to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence in areas such as big data analysis, to expand its overseas operations and to build a transportation network with "new energy vehicles", as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are called in China.

Didi announced earlier in December that it expects to launch ride-hailing services in Mexico next year. Didi was created by a 2015 merger between Tencent Holding-backed Didi Dache and Alibaba Group Holding-backed Kuaidi Dache. People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that Softbank and the UAE state fund Mubadala Investment participated in the latest round.

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The company in April raised $5.5 billion from several investors, with Softbank providing $5 billion.

The two companies have been in a slow-moving war for years.

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment and Japanese telecoms firm Softbank participated in Didi's $5bn funding round in July, and were widely reported to be among the global investors involved in the latest financing. Didi also holds investments in Taxify, which operates in Europe and Africa, Brazil-based 99, as well as US-based Uber rival Lyft.