Uber China, the ride-sharing company’s unit in the Asian powerhouse, is set to experience massive expansion this year, reports TechCrunch. Currently Uber is available in 22 cities in the most populous country on the planet, but that number is set to rapidly grow to more than 100 cities by the end of 2016.
The first expansion will take place in the next three weeks, says TechCrunch, where Uber will expand into an additional 15 cities in China by Chinese New Year on February 8th. Chinese New Year is one of the busiest travel days of the year for the country, when most people travel home to see their friends and family. The 15-city expansion will all take place in Sichuan province, China’s fourth most populous province with 80 million people and counting. Sichuan’s capital Chengdu is currently Uber’s top city worldwide, based on weekly completed trips, says TechCrunch. It attained that position just nine months after Uber launched there.
To fulfill its goal of 100 cities by the end of 2016, Uber says expansion plans will really pick up after the new year.
"2015 was Uber China’s ‘Year of Localization’ and 2016 will be our ‘Year of Growth’," Zhen Liu, Uber China’s head of Strategy, said in a statement.
"We have built a strong foundation across the country and have put in place an excellent local team that will drive our growth in the year ahead… our goal is to be in 100 cities across China by the end of the year."
However, as TechCrunch notes, even if Uber can pull of its massive Chinese expansion in 2016 it will still lag well behind China’s biggest ride-sharer, Didi Kuaidi, which is in over 360 cities and towns in China.