Picture: Bloomberg

It had been billed as the “IPO of the year” and the largest China listing in the US since e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings’ debut in 2014. Yet, when the Beijing-based DiDi Global, the “world's largest mobility technology platform”, began wooing investors in a virtual road show two weeks ago, it was clear that there was little enthusiasm for yet another ride-hailing firm, even if it was the “Uber of China”. Even a last-minute attempt to drum up interest by touting DiDi’s global ambitions to become the “largest one-stop transportation platform” and the operator of biggest vehicle networks on earth was not enough to move the needle. 

On June 30, after surging 29% in the first few minutes of trading, DiDi’s stock closed at US$14.14 ($19), just 1% above its offering price, or 12% more than its last private funding round two years ago. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley were hard at work to help support DiDi’s stock and prevent a fall below the IPO price on its debut day at the New York Stock Exchange. For ride-hailing investors, it seemed like déjà vu all over again. Uber priced its own IPO at US$ 45 a share in May 2019 before it plunged 56% ten months later at the start of the pandemic. Uber’s stock has been hovering around US$50 in recent days or 2.5% more than what most venture capital firms paid for its funding round more than six years ago. 

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