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Toyota mulls investing in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi

This photo shows a Toyota Motor Corp. logo on a vehicle displayed at a Toyopet dealership in Tokyo's Shibaura area, on May 9, 2018. (Kyodo)

NAGOYA (Kyodo) -- Toyota Motor Corp. is considering investing up to 60 billion yen ($550 million) in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. in an effort to expand its business in China, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Toyota and Didi are looking to set up a joint venture to offer mobility services including ride-sharing in the world's largest auto market, the sources said.

Didi has secured an overwhelming ride-hailing market share in China through the acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc.'s Chinese business.

The Chinese ride-hailing service operator has already aligned with Toyota in the "e-Palette" project to develop electric and autonomous vehicles that can be used as mobile stores, together with other global technology giants including Inc.

The move came as Toyota continued its transformation into a "mobility company," offering a wide range of services.

The Japanese automaker has invested in several ride-hailing operators across the globe including another giant of the sector in Grab Taxi Holdings Pte Ltd. of Singapore.

Toyota said last month it will jointly invest $1 billion in Uber's new subsidiary to develop autonomous vehicles, together with SoftBank Group Corp. and auto parts supplier Denso Corp.

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