By Paul Carsten
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's dominant taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi told shareholders on Friday it had three times the number of daily private car trips than Uber Technologies Inc just weeks after its U.S. rival boasted of similar successes in a letter to investors.
Didi Kuaidi, which controls 80 percent of China's taxi-hailing market and whose parent company is Xiaoju Kuaizhi, last week started to raise at least $1.5 billion from investors, the letter said. The fundraising amount could rise to $2 billion due to strong demand, in a deal that values the company at $15 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
That valuation is lower than the at least $40 billion valuation for Uber, which in its June 12 letter to shareholders said it plans to invest more than $1 billion in China to rev up growth in the world's second largest economy.
"In overall rides, we now have 10x the volume of our closest competitor in China and at least 3x its global volume," Didi Kuaidi said in its letter to shareholders, which was obtained by Reuters. "With advantages in scale and operational efficiency, we can provide more ride orders to drivers than competitors."
Didi Kuaidi is backed by China's two largest Internet companies, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Uber is backed by their smaller rival Baidu Inc.
Didi Kuaidi said it has three million private car requests a day. By comparison, Uber, which focuses on private car use, said in its letter to shareholders that it was completing one million trips per day.
Didi Kuaidi expects the annualized amount of money spent on its platforms to be $12 billion by the end of the year, and aims to serve 30 million passengers and 10 million drivers a day within three years, the letter said.
Local government officials have raided the offices of both Didi Kuaidi and Uber and also cracked down on unlicensed drivers using their private cars via the apps. In its letter, Didi Kuaidi, like Uber, also pledged to work with the government to resolve its problems.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)