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

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

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

(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.

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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