Uber has received US$200 million of fresh funding led by Chinese insurance company China Life with participation from other, unnamed investors, a person familiar with the matter told TechNode yesterday.
The deal will be Uber’s second capital injection from Chinese investors in past five months. China search giant Baidu poured an undisclosed investment into Uber in December last year, and granted Uber access to the search giant’s local map service. The recent investment confers the same valuation of US$40 billion.
Uber first launched a pilot project in Shanghai in 2013, followed by an official launch in mid-2014. It is now operating in ten Chinese cities. While Uber has grown rapidly, it has also encountered several legal setbacks, as well increasing competition from other transportation and logistics services.
The two major local taxi-hailing apps, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, merged earlier this year, and reportedly account for a staggering 95% of China’s taxi app market. While Uber does not compete directly in the taxi market, the local models have formed a formidable competitor.
Uber’s major rivals have partnered up with insurance companies in the past, using the insurers to compensate accidents related to the drivers.
As one of the largest life insurers in China, China Life previously cooperated with local ride-share app Haha Pinche. China Life’s insurance services and its government connections are expected to assist Uber in its bid to localize.
Image credit: ShutterStock
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)