Uber is raising even more money in China -- and it could signal that an IPO is on the way

Uber has raised new funding from Chinese investment management firm Hillhouse Capital Group, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The investment firm is purchasing bonds that will later convert into shares. Uber will reportedly earn “hundreds of millions of dollars” through the deal.

The Wall Street Journal points out that the deal with the Chinese firm incentivises Uber to IPO soon, because the bonds rise in value the longer Uber waits to go public.

But the deal isn’t just about raising new funding, it also signals the importance of the Chinese market to Uber.

Uber struggled for a long time to gain a foothold in China. Rival companies were able to operate in hundreds of cities, but Uber was bogged down by regulations.

However, it looks like Uber is doubling down on China. Leaked emails from CEO Travis Kalanick to investors show that he sees China as “the #1 priority for Uber’s global team.” And it looks like that push to succeed in China is paying off: The graph below shows growth rates for Uber in cities around the world. Chinese cities grow at a much faster rate than any other location.

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