According to industry rumors, mobile taxi booking app Didi Dache, operated by Beijing Xiaoju Technology, has landed USD 700 mln in fourth-round funding, valuing the company at approximately USD 3.5 bln. Didi Dache rival Kuaidi Dache, operated by Hangzhou Kuaizhi Technology, will also reportedly soon complete a USD 9-digit third round of funding, including an investment from Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group, who contributed to the company's first two rounds.
Didi Dache has announced that the company will soon release a "Didi Button" ("Didi Anniu") hardware product that can be mounted on taxi driver steering wheels, allowing for hands-free operation of the Didi Dache app. The device will allow drivers to accept fares with a short press and call passengers' mobile handsets with a long press. Didi Dache is in the process of partnering with an unnamed hardware manufacturer to develop the device. The product is in the debugging stage and is expected to enter the mass production phase in May.
Additionally, online ratings and group buy site Dianping's mobile app has integrated Didi Dache services. Zhang Jing, Didi Dache's VP of operations, has disclosed that the company plans to partner with 3 to 4 lifestyle service firms in the future, with priority consideration given to companies invested in by Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent (0700.HK), also a Didi Dache investor.