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Week ending December 4, 2015 roundup of the biggest news from the sharing economy
It was a busy week for on-demand apps and companies tapping into the sharing economy, so here's a roundup of the three biggest stories you need to know about.
Sources: Uber to raise a new round at $62.5 billion valuation
The biggest unicorn is getting bigger.
Uber is about to close a new $2.1 billion round of venture capital, say multiple sources, that would value the company at $62.5 billion. This would easily make Uber the world’s most valuable private company, leading both Xiaomi ($46 billion) and Airbnb ($25.5 billion) by a long shot.
To date, the ride-hailing startup has raised over $8 billion across a dozen rounds, the most recent one a $1 billion round from Baidu to compete in China. Uber’s main competitor stateside, Lyft, has raised about $1 billion and is valued at $2.5 billion.
Uber has so far declined to comment on the news.
Didi Kuaidi, Lyft, GrabTaxi, and Ola gang up on Uber
Four of Uber’s biggest competitors in several markets around the globe have formed an official partnership to thwart Uber’s plans for global domination.
Lyft technically only operates in the U.S., but the company previously formed an agreement with Didi Kuaidi so that its customers who travel to China could keep hailing rides using the Lyft app. The same holds true for Didi Kuaidi’s customers who travel to the states.
With the expanded partnership this week, the network of services cover ride-hailing across China with Didi Kuaidi, India with Ola, Southeast Asia with GrabTaxi, and the U.S. with Lyft. The agreement looks very much like a strategic plan to give the behemoth Uber sturdy competition across several of its most important markets.
Airbnb releases NY data, reveals 55 percent of host break the law
As part of its ongoing Community Compact pledge, Airbnb released data this week about its nearly 60,000 listings in New York City. The company hopes to paint a rosy picture of how its home sharing service is an "economic lifeline" for ordinary people, citing that 78 percent of hosts in the city earn low to middle incomes. Around the same amount use the money they earn on Airbnb to pay the rent.
That said, various third parties were quick to point out that over half of Airbnb’s hosts are still breaking the law, according to the company’s own data. In 2011, New York made it illegal for anyone to rent an entire apartment for under 29 days. And that’s exactly what 55 percent of Airbnb hosts are doing.
The obvious question: since the law was designed to block illegal hotels, should it be amended to accommodate tenants earning an extra buck when they’re out of town?
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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.