Uber raises further $1.2bn in China, following $3bn investment in rival Didi Kuaidi
Mon 7 Sep 2015
U.S. taxi-hailing giant Uber has confirmed that it has raised a further $1.2bn in its latest Chinese funding round, backed by Beijing-based web services company Baidu.
The round remains open and marks Uber’s latest attempt to fight back against domestic rivals as it seeks to maintain and expand operations in Asia. Exact figures are yet to be disclosed, but Uber is expected to officially announce the financial details later today.
The announcement comes shortly after Chinese ride-sharing app, Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s biggest competitor in China, completed a funding round raising an additional $3bn to boost its control over the transport app market. Although no sponsor details have been released, it is expected that Didi Kuaidi fans including Softbank, Alibaba, Tencent, China Investment Corp and Beijing Automotive were among those behind the funding.
The battle between the two firms has been ongoing since Uber’s Chinese launch in July last year. Its biggest feat was securing the support of the country’s largest search engine, Baidu, in December. Uber has continued to push for financial backing in China, with reports confirming that the company had raised $1bn in June.
Baidu’s involvement in this latest investment comes in addition to its existing stake, and brings Uber’s total Chinese value to more than $8bn. Baidu is also supporting the U.S. company logistically, offering local knowledge, help with recruitment and partnerships with regional mapping services.
The ride-hailing app has said that cracking the Chinese market is its ‘number one priority’, despite proven difficulties for Western technology brands. Uber still faces a huge challenge to overtake Didi Kuaidi in China, which currently carries triple the amount of passengers as Uber and holds 78% of the market share, compared to Uber’s 11%.
Uber maintains its position in the regions, criticising Didi Kuaidi for “cloning our core product line and […] attempting to transition from its legacy taxi business to a similar P2P model.”