Despite a nationwide lockdown in the beginning of last year that put China at a standstill, Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing managed to finish the year with a 10% increase in rides compared to 2019. That translated to a net profit from its core ride-hailing business of roughly $1 billion in 2020, according to two people with knowledge of its finances, the first time the business made a significant amount of money on a full-year basis since 2017.
The performance of China’s second most valuable venture-backed tech firm underscores that country’s strong recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. By contrast, Uber’s ride-hailing business shrank considerably when the pandemic hit. Now Didi is in early discussions with bankers from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase about an initial public offering that could potentially occur in the second half of the year.