Uber’s China division received a nearly $2 billion investment from Chinese firms, boosting the unit to a valuation of $7 billion.
As Reuters reported Wednesday (Jan. 13), the previously unreported Chinese investors have been identified as China Minsheng Banking, real estate developer China Vanke and China Broadband Capital. Other participants in the latest round of funding include Hainan Airlines’ parent company HNA Group, China Taiping Insurance Holdings, China Life Insurance, Guangzhou Automobile Group and CITIC Securities.
On Monday (Jan 11.), Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told Beijing reporters that the company’s Chinese unit was already valued at $7 billion prior to closing on the recent Series B funding round, Reuters said.
The new capital comes at a time when Uber is still in fierce competition with Chinese startup Didi Kuaidi for dominance in the country.
Last year, the company partnered with other ride-hailing app companies, including Uber’s American rival, Lyft, India-based Ola and South Asian giant GrabTaxi, to better compete against Uber, which has over $8 billion at its disposal.
The companies together raised $7 billion to put up a strong campaign for their expansion plan that would allow international users to pay for rides in other countries using their local currency.
As Uber continues to work itself into China’s booming ride-hailing market app market — 70 percent of which is dominated by Didi Kuaidi, which operates in 259 cities and plans on expanding to 400 next month – Didi Kuaidi has its sights set on a new space.
The Beijing-based company recently announced the expansion of its test drive service to unlock a whole new market of automobile eCommerce to its user base.
The test drive service, which was launched in October of last year, allows users to take one of the 92 different car models from 19 companies, including Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Audi, for a test ride. The service gained such popularity that, within three months of its launch, the Chinese giant recorded 1.4 million orders by over 1.8 million users across six cities in China and sold about 200 cars within two hours in a test.
Now, the company wants to build the service into a full-fledged eCommerce platform that will match up car dealers with its enormous database of users through targeted advertising and provide functionalities, like demand projections and pricing, to its users — essentially making eCommerce a part of its global day-to-day operations.