A group of Chinese investors has put nearly $2 billion into taxi-hailing firm Uber, which is facing increased competition as it expands rapidly in China.
Reuters reported that some of the investment was part of a recent fundraising round that valued the firm’s China unit at $7 billion.
Recent moves by rivals have put pressure on Uber as it expands aggressively in Asia.
Four rivals — China’s Didi Kuaidi, US-based Lyft, India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s GrabTaxi – agreed in December to partner to scale up their services to compete against Uber. The firms said users of each app will be able to book transportation in each other’s region.
Didi and Lyft announced a strategic partnership in September to “make it easier for people to get reliable rides when they travel between the US and China”. The Chinese firm invested $100 million in Lyft as part of a financing round led by Rakuten earlier this year that also included Carl Icahn, Alibaba and Tencent.
Didi, China’s most popular ride-hailing service and Uber’s biggest rival in China, invested in Ola in September. Ola, which operates in 102 cities in India and has about an 80 per cent share of the taxi-hailing business, has raised an estimated $500 million from Didi, SoftBank, Falcon Edge, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Tiger Global Management.
Back in September Uber reportedly raised $1.2 billion in an ongoing fundraising round, led by search giant Baidu, to expand in China, while Didi raised $3 billion.
Chinese media reported that the investors include CITIC Securities, Guangzhou Automobile Group, China Life Insurance, China Taiping Insurance Holdings, Hainan Airlines’s parent company, HNA Group, and three others that were previously not reported. China Broadband Capital, China Vanke and China Minsheng Banking have joined as Uber investors in China, Reuters said.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told reporters in Beijing this week that its Chinese unit was valued at $7 billion before taking on additional investment in its recently-closed Series B funding round.