Travis Kalanick wants Uber in 100 Chinese cities next year

Steven Loeb · September 8, 2015 · Short URL:

The pronouncement comes day after the company raised $1.2B to fuel its expansion there

It's not a secret that China is a key market for Uber's future growth. Just a few months ago CEO Travis Kalanick said that he wanted to expand to 50 new cities in the country, up from its current 11, which would make it the company's second biggest market, surpassing India, where is has 18 markets. 

Now that Uber has taken some big checks from Chinese investors, Kalanick is upping his game,  saying at an event in Beijing, which was held by Uber investor Baidu, that he now wants to make that 100 cities over the next year, the company has confirmed to VatorNews.

The company has already seen tremendous growth in China.

"When we started this year, we were about one percent market share. Today, nine months later, we're looking at about 30 to 35 percent market share", Kalanick said in the speech, which was quoted by Reuters

This speech was made only one day after Uber had revealed that it has raised an additional $1.2 billion, with Baidu as one of the investors. Also, recently leaked documents showed that Uber had taken investments from two other companies in China: the state-owned China Life Insurance Co. and China Taiping Insurance, though the amounts of those rounds were not revealed. 

Uber is going to really have to step up its game, however, if it wants to compete with homegrown service Didi Kuaidi in China. The latter recently raised a $2 billion round of funding, lead by Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. and Capital International Private Equity Funds, with Hillhouse Capital Management and Coatue Management also participating. The company is now reportedly raising another $3 billion in funding as well.

Didi and Kuaidi are two separate apps which merged this year to take on competition from Uber. Didi Kuaidi still runs separate apps that customers use to access their service, while combining their technology and data. 

The company gets around some of the regulatory problems that its competitors have by working directly with existing taxi drivers. There are 2 million taxi drivers in China, and 1.5 million of them are on the Didi Kuaidi network.

Going up against that kind of dominance will be challenge for Uber, so taking money from Chinese companies will certainly help. Having ties to Baidu will be especially helpful, Kalanick said in his speech.

"We can get introductions to the city governments, the government officials that want to shepherd our kind of innovation and our kind of progress into their cities," he said.

Kalanick also said that he expected new regulations later this year, which will govern ride-hailing services in China, and which will benefit Uber.

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Uber is a ridesharing service headquartered in San Francisco, United States, which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers.