Chinese ride-hailing service Xiangdao Chuxing announced on Monday that it has raised more than $150 million in Series B from investors, including self-driving car startup Momenta, and said it plans to prepare for a potential initial public offering.

Why it matters: The deal marks the latest example of a partnership between a self-driving vehicle developer and a ride-hailing company.

Details: Xiangdao said it raised more than RMB 1 billion ($150 million) in a funding round, with participation from SAIC, China’s biggest automaker and Volkswagen’s Chinese partner, self-driving car company Momenta, and private equity firm Gaoxing Investment. Xiangdao is valued at $1 billion.

  • Xiangdao plans to use the proceeds in various ways, including expanding an autonomous taxi-hailing fleet co-operated with Momenta and also backed by SAIC, among other investors.
  • The companies began offering robotaxi services with 40 self-driving cars in limited areas in Shanghai and the nearby city of Suzhou in late 2021 and plan to expand the fleet to 200 vehicles by the end of the year.
  • Formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC, Xiangdao will consider selling shares publicly “when the time is right,” according to an announcement (in Chinese) published Monday.
  • Gaoxing Investment has ties with Alibaba, with its executive director Zhou Haijing being the legal representative of three Chinese firms owned entirely by Amap, Alibaba’s online mapping service, according to the Chinese corporate database portal Tianyancha.

Context: Xiangdao was founded by SAIC in Shanghai in 2018 and later raised RMB 300 million in Series A from external investors, including Alibaba and battery giant CATL in December 2020.

  • The ride-hailing company said it has a base of 30 million personal users and 2,200 business clients from more than 150 domestic cities as of last year, but did not reveal its ride volume figures.
  • Other Chinese ride-hailing firms exploring IPOs include T3, a three-year-old company launched by automakers FAW, Dongfeng, and Changan, as well as Geely’s subsidiary Cao Cao, which partners with self-driving unicorn Pony.ai, and OnTime, backed by GAC and WeRide.

Jill Shen

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