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China Breaks the Global Model of VC Investing

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At its peak, SoftBank took this global concept one step further, using its first Vision Fund’s $100 billion war chest to invest in rivals in the same sector — and forcing them into arranged marriages. One example is ride-hailing. In late 2014, SoftBank, a major investor in Uber Technologies Inc., poured $250 million into Uber’s archrival in Southeast Asia, GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. A month later, it led a $600 million financing round that benefitted Hangzhou Kuaidi Technology Co., Uber’s competitor in China. Didi Global is the product of a merger between Didi Taxi, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., and Kuaidi in 2015 — and the acquisition of Uber China in 2016. (Thus, San Francisco-based Uber has an 11.9% stake in the just-listed Didi.)