Chinese ride-hailing platform Didi filed for an initial public offering on Thursday. The company plans to trade on either the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. 

Why it matters: Valued at $62 billion, Didi is among the world’s five highest-valued unicorns. The company’s listing could be one of the biggest IPO this year. 

  • The Beijing-based startup is also the world’s biggest mobility platform, with around 156 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the three months ended March 31, 2021, according to its prospectus. To compare, Uber had 98 million MAUs during the same period.

Details: Didi’s IPO filing highlights its quick recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company reported a net income of RMB 196 million ($30 million) in the three months ended March 31, up from a net loss of nearly RMB 4 billion a year earlier.

  • Didi’s revenue for the first quarter of this year was RMB 42.2 billion, doubling its figures from the same period in 2020. The company reported a RMB 10.7 billion loss on RMB 141.7 billion in revenue for 2020. 
  • Didi plans to use 30% of the proceeds from its IPO to fund its international expansion. The company intends to spend another 30% on technology development, including electric vehicles and autonomous driving, according to the filing.
  • Didi is ramping up its push into electric vehicles (EVs) to cut operational costs. Last November, the company released its first EV, the D1, with Chinese carmaker BYD. It also partnered with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd (GAC Group) to develop self-driving cars last month.
  • Didi didn’t disclose how much money it seeks to raise, but listed a placeholder amount of $100 million on the filing.

Context: As part of its rapid expansion plan for the next three years, Didi is expanding into overseas markets and aggressively entering new verticals. 

  • In November, the Chinese mobility giant launched its ride-hailing service in Auckland, New Zealand, three months after making its debut in Russia. It is also reportedly eyeing western Europe, where it seeks to enter the UK, France, and Germany.
  • Domestically, Didi has been diversifying its business by expanding into grocery delivery and mini-van services for logistics. In January, the company reportedly closed a $1.5 billion round of funding for its mini-van service. It plans to spin off its grocery delivery service in a separate listing as early as next year.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @jill_shen_sh