Business / Auto China

GAC backs Uber to boost sales

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-14 10:45

GAC Group has become a strategic investor in Uber Technologies Inc's China operations, a move that both sides believe will help boost the car-hailing service provider's presence and increase sales for the Guangzhou, Guangdong-based carmaker.

In a statement released on Wednesday, GAC said its overseas subsidiary, Zhonglong Investment Co, had invested about $100 million in Uber's second round of financing for its China operations.

In December, they signed a strategic partnership agreement under which GAC would cooperate with Uber China in sectors like equity investment, car sales, financing, service and market operations, especially for promotion of new-energy vehicles.

The investment from Chinese companies would help boost Uber's market share in China, said Wang De'an, an auto analyst at Ping An Securities Co.

"While Uber has taken bigger fish in most markets, things are a little different in China as local ride-sharing company Didi Kuaidi is the dominant player," said Wang.

Didi Kuaidi, backed by a group of top companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd, handles about 3 million rides a day, while Uber has around 1 million daily rides in China, according to industry sources.

"The new round of financing would help Uber benefit from the expanding Chinese market," said Wang.

GAC, in turn, expects the investment to boost sales, especially in promotion of the new-energy vehicles.

GAC Motor Co, a subsidiary of GAC Group, has already provided dozens of energy-saving vehicles to Uber for services in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, and Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, according to sources with the company.

Uber and GAC will cooperate in promoting and using energy-saving and new-energy automobiles including hybrid and electric vehicles to boost green travel, according to the statement.

Uber has invested more than 6.3 billion yuan ($996 million) in China, with services covering 22 Chinese cities since its China operation was established in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in 2015, with a registered capital of 2.1 billion yuan.

In addition to the partnership with GAC, Uber China has also established strategic partnerships with some of China's leading enterprises in various industries, in support of its long-term commitment to the China market.

In the latest move, Uber has signed a global strategic partnership with Chinese carrier HNA Group for developing innovative travel solutions for Chinese and global travelers.

Under the terms of the partnership, which was signed in Beijing on Monday, passengers traveling on HNA flights can enjoy favorable rates on Uber rides to and from the airports and special promotions on local Uber rides will be offered to travelers staying at any HNA hotels in China and around the world.

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