June 15, 2016 / 5:28 PM / a year ago

China's Didi Chuxing raises $7.3 billion in new funding

(Reuters) - Chinese car-hailing app Didi Chuxing Technology Co said it raised $7.3 billion in its latest round of funding, including $4.5 billion from new and existing investors, as it battles to fend off Uber’s march into China.

The logo of Didi Chuxing is seen at its headquarters in Beijing, China, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon - RTSEXJ6

In addition, China Merchants Bank (600036.SS) has committed to become the lead arranger for a syndicated loan facility to Didi of up to $2.5 billion, the company said.

China Life Insurance Co Ltd (601628.SS) also added a long-term debt investment of about $300 million.

Didi intends to use proceeds from the funding round for technology upgrades, big data research and to explore new lines of business.

The latest round of funding includes $1 billion from Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and $600 million from China Life.

The funding round values the company at more than $25 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Didi says it now has $10.5 billion in disposable funds after the closing of the round. Its U.S. rival Uber [UBER.UL] has $11 billion.

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru and Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Bill Rigby

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