Following another round of funding, Uber's China division is worth more than $7 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. Local businesses like private airline owner HNA Group, automaker Guangzhou Automobile Co. Group, and major insurance company China Life Insurance are now among UberChina's investors.
This helps Uber compete with its fiercest rival in China, Didi Kuaidi, which still has a lock on the vast majority of the market. Didi Kuaidi revealed earlier today, in fact, that it booked more than 1 billion rides in 2015 alone—a number that accounts for Uber's total global rides since its launch in 2009, as per a blog post from December. (To be fair, Didi Kuaidi's count includes all of its transportation services, not just its ride-hailing unit.)
UberChina's valuation had already reached $7 billion prior to the latest funding round, the company claims; its initial decision to invest more than $1 billion in China came last year, when Uber was on the cusp of logging one million rides a day there. (Uber also secured a partnership with Chinese search engine Baidu in December 2014.) At the time, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick asserted that expansion in China was the "number one priority for Uber’s global team."
Kalanick's sentiment is doubly true now, given Didi Kuaidi teamed up with Lyft, another major Uber competitor, in September. According to the WSJ, Didi Kuaidi is now valued at $16 billion and has the backing of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba and Internet giant Tencent.
[via Wall Street Journal]