Uber invests $1B in China as it sets up subsidiary in Shanghai Free Trade Zone
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Photo Credit: Hung Chung Chih/ Shutterstock.

Uber is investing nearly $1 billion in China as it battles homegrown arch-rival Didi Kuaidi.

Tech in Asia

Uber is investing nearly $1 billion (RMB 6.3 billion) into China as it battles homegrown arch-rival Didi Kuaidi, reports the Shanghai Daily. In addition to that, Uber has set up a local subsidiary registered in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. The spin-off company is listed as having $331 million in registered capital. Rather than registering the Shanghai company under Uber’s Chinese name (Youbu), it is instead called Wubo.

Legal hurdle

This announcement from Uber comes on the same afternoon that Didi Kuaidi’s private car-hailing service, which resembles UberX and UberBlack, was the first in the country to be given full regulatory approval. The nod of approval from Shanghai’s Municipal Transportation Commission lifts Didi Kuaidi out of a legal grey area and paves the way for a national framework that could legalize app-connected car services.

Uber is thought to be seeking the same regulatory approval in Shanghai, but the company has yet to respond to emailed questions from Tech in Asia on the subject. It’s not clear if Uber’s Shanghai subsidiary is related directly to the regulatory approval process, although one of the mandates is that approved car-flagging apps are licensed and based in mainland China and follow Chinese web media and data protection laws.

Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission, said this afternoon that the municipal government has been in talks with the nation’s Ministry of Transportation about private-driver legislation that would legalize Uber-esque car apps across the country. Uber currently operates in 15 Chinese cities, but CEO Travis Kalanick said last month that his startup aims to expand to at least 100 cities across the nation in the coming year.

This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.

Featured Image Credit: Hung Chung Chih/ Shutterstock

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