Last month, Uber announced it had closed a $US1.2 billion funding round for its China branch. Now, the company is looking to expand that funding round to as much as $US2.5 billion, the Financial Times reports.
To grow in China, the company formally launched a fundraising round on June 22. Four of Uber’s 10 biggest cities are now in China, according to an email sent by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to investors and obtained by the Financial Times earlier this summer.
Uber has been investing heavily in China, and the service is growing there like crazy.
Uber’s service is taking off in China much faster than it did in the United States. Nine months after launching in Chengdu, Uber had 479 times the trips it had in New York after the same amount of time.
And Uber just launched a carpooling service called UberCommute, or “People’s Uber+” in Chengdu, Uber’s biggest city in the world. UberCommute matches up riders with drivers going to similar destinations. Lyft introduced a very similar service called Driver Destination back in November.
Uber is putting a lot of money into its Chinese growth. Uber previously raised more than $US5 billion in several funding rounds, including a $US600 million investment from Chinese search engine company Baidu.
Uber faces competition in China, though.
Last week, Didi Kuaidi — Uber’s biggest competitor in China — and Lyft, Uber’s biggest US rival, announced the two companies were teaming up to take on Uber.
The strategic partnership will let the companies share technology, product development, and local resources, and when US users of Lyft go to China (or when Didi users come visit the US), they will be able to pay in their native currency on each app.
Now that Lyft has teamed up with Didi, the two companies seem better suited to take on Uber. Didi recently closed a $US3 billion round of venture capital funding, and it’s valued at $US15 billion, so it’s well-equipped financially — in total, Didi Kuaidi has amassed a $US4 billion war chest of venture capital funding.
Didi Kuaidi was created in February when competing apps Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache merged to cut the costs of competing with each other — and more importantly, with Uber. Didi’s finances have also come into question. The company is losing buckets of money,according to leaked financial documents surfaced by the Financial Times.
We have reached out to Uber for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
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