Uber has made it clear that China is going to be a major market for the ride-hailing service.
But there are challenges.
“We are profitable in the U.S., but in China, we’re losing over a billion dollars a year,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said at an event earlier this year. And Uber’s billion-dollar loss comes as the battle over capturing the Chinese market seems to be growing fiercer by the day. In China, the San Francisco-based company faces intense competition with Didi Kuaidi, which holds stronger control over the market.
While Didi Kuaidi remains a relatively small player in front of Uber, which is valued at over $60 billion, it has been on massive funding sprees. But now Uber has another plan up its sleeve.
Uber wants to be the all-in-one app that offers consumers rides, food and entertainment. That’s why Uber is rolling out new services called UberLIFE and Uber + Travel this year in China.
“This reminds us that Uber is a global service serving global citizens,” Wang said at a TechCrunch event. “It is rooted in each of the cities.”
The goal of UberLIFE is to connect consumers to digital media offerings in order to keep them updated with events they can attend, including sporting events, art festivals, and all the happenings in their local cities. The ultimate goal on Uber’s end, of course, is to get more users used to using Uber’s app and to keep them on the app longer.
For Uber + Travel, the goal is to help connect people and travel options of all types. That could be anything from boat rides to hot air balloons and would all be branded with Uber. For example, there would be services like UberBoat or UberBalloon.
Uber has had a presence in China for around two years and is in 60 cities. But now instead of just focusing on getting consumers to use Uber to hail rides, it’s hoping those consumers will look at Uber as a “commerce service that understands life and a proper life,” according to Wang.