HNA Group has joined Uber China’s swelling rank of investors, and its investment has helped boost Uber China’s valuation to nearly US$8 billion, according to media reports.
Tourism big hitter HNA Group hoing Uber China's backers
Uber has been actively wooing investors, and Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick told Sina.com on September 7 that Uber China had already pocketed US$1.2 billion in its ongoing financing from Chinese investors like Baidu while other investors would also join further down the road. By September 24 it was reported that Uber was seeking to raise up to US$2.5 billion for its China operations.
HNA Group is the latest in the stream of investors for Uber China, as Uber has been actively inflating its war chest on the one hand and gearing up the competition with archenemy Didi-Kuaidi on the other hand.
On October 8, Uber announced it was setting up a base in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone by incorporating the Shanghai Wubo Information Technology company with registered capital of RMB2.1 billion (approx: US$33 million). Uber also announced it would invest up to RMB6.3 billion (approx: US$991 million) to maintain its long-term and sustained development in China.
Coincidentally, Didi-Kuaidi also received a license on the same day to operate an online ride-booking platform. It was the first such license issued in China by the Shanghai Transportation Committee.
Not to be outdone, Uber China is also actively preparing the paperwork to apply for an operating license as a car-hire platform as soon as possible. Uber has been seeking to legitimize its operation in China, by registering Uber China and actively pursuing Chinese investors. Whether its localization bids will win the trust and endorsement from Chinese authorities though remains to be seen.(Translation by David)