The Chinese arm of mobile-based taxi-hailing giant Uber has closed US$1 billion funding round from a group of investors, including Asia’s biggest hedge fund Hillhouse Capital, Chinese Internet giant Baidu, China CITIC Bank, China Life Insurance Co and Ping, an Insurance Group Co of China, according to a Reuters report, quoting unnamed sources.
Earlier there were reports that China’s state-run CITIC bank is planning an investment of US$100 million between Uber Global and Uber China. The development comes two months after Uber’s competitor in China, Didi Kuaidi, closed US$2 billion from Alibaba, Tencent, Temasek Holdings and Coatue Management. Didi Kuaidi has 70-80 per cent of the ride-sharing market in China.
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Uber is aggressively focussing on the enormous Chinese ride-share market. It recently announced it would invest over US$1 billion in the market in 2015. In a letter leaked to the media, its CEO Travis Kalanick took a swipe at Didi Kuaidi saying that its competitor has cloned its core product line and is attempting to transition from its legacy taxi business to a similar P2P model.
Uber has also been offering bonuses to Chinese drivers to get them on board.