By Paul Carsten
BEIJING (Reuters) - China Merchants Bank <600036.SS> has agreed to invest $200 million in ride-hailing start-up Didi Kuaidi as part of its latest $3 billion fundraising round, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
A Didi Kuaidi spokeswoman declined to comment on China Merchants Bank's (CMB) investment but said China's largest ride-hailing company is now valued at $16.5 billion after the overall fundraising round. In September, Didi Kuaidi confirmed it had raised $3 billion.
CMB declined to comment.
Didi Kuaidi, which is backed by China's biggest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding <BABA.N> and leading social networking company Tencent Holdings <0700.HK>, is battling with U.S. start-up Uber Technology Inc's [UBER.UL] local arm, a smaller but well-funded rival.
On Tuesday, Didi Kuaidi announced a strategic partnership with CMB, under which customers of the bank can use their credit cards to pay for Didi Kuaidi rides, and the bank will help the start-up's drivers finance new car purchases. That, in turn, could expand the firm's pool of drivers and help current drivers buy better cars to improve service.
With $3 billion of funding, Didi Kuaidi wants to pick investors who can provide more than just money, Jean Liu, the company's president, said on Tuesday.
Previously disclosed investors in the round were China Investment Corp, Capital International Private Equity Fund, Ping An Ventures, Alibaba, Tencent, Temasek and Coatue Management.
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by He Li; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Muralikumar Anantharaman)