Riding high on its massive funding rounds recent being $3.5 billion from Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, Uber is eyeing the top spot in China- possibly its most important market at present. In an interview at Converge in Hong Kong, SVP of Strategy at Uber China Zhen Liu claimed that Uber China would beat its fierce rival Didi in terms of overall market share within next twelve months.
Last year, we were only operating in eight cities and we were [at] about one percent marketshare. A year later, we are about one-third of the marketshare and operating in over sixty cities across China.
She further added that there were 6 Chinese cities among the top 10 busiest cities of Uber all over the world.
While this may be true, it is also true that this expansion has come at a cost, a massive cost if one may add. Uber has heavily spent (or one should say bled money) in China, trying to fight off competition from China’s taxi company Didi.
In fact, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was quoted saying earlier this year that Uber had become profitable in the US and Canada but was losing more than $1 billion in China. He had said that the company was using profits from everywhere else to fund these huge losses in China.
Uber China had separately closed a $1 billion round at a valuation of $7 billion in January this year. As per Liu, the company was in the process of actively raising fresh funds, part of which will come from its parent company Uber.
It is tough to accurately measure the claims of Uber or even Didi about their exact number of rides in the country. However, Didi with its presence in over 400 cities of China, 14 Million rides a day, and a subscribed user base exceeding 300 Million, is often said to be ahead of Uber for now by many experts and analysts.
Moreover, Didi is also raising funds to maintain its market share as well as to further expand in the country. Recently, it managed to secure $1 billion from Apple as a part of its ongoing $2 billion round at a valuation of $25 Billion.