Uber is moving ahead in its quest to build a global empire. This time, it turned to the Middle East for its biggest infusion of cash, $3.5 billion from a single investor, Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund.
Travis Kalanick, one of Uber’s founders and its chief executive said, “We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business as we continue to expand our global presence. Our experience in Saudi Arabia is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities and we look forward to partnering to support their economic and social reforms.”
Uber has collected more than $11 billion from investors since its inception and is Silicon Valley’s most valuable private business.
Uber has its presence in 69 countries covering more than 460 cities. It has been spending to expand and also defend its territories. It is getting tough competition from rivals in some places like China where it has to spend huge amounts in subsidy war with DidiChuxing, the dominant ride-hailing domestic start-up.
With the new capital infusion, the company plans to expand the service in Saudi Arabia where 80% of its users are women. They are banned from driving themselves in the country and hence are mostly dependent on cab service for commuting.
The company also has plans to invest a substantial portion of USD 3.5-billion funding in India. It is determined to overtake local rival Ola. Uber India President Amit Jain told PTI, “A substantial portion will be for India. We have grown exponentially over the last two years and remain bullish on the Indian market where we continue to register remarkable growth.”
Mr. Jain further clarified that it is global fund and will be used for strategic investments in global priority markets like India. After US and China, India is the third largest market for the company in terms of a number of trips. So, the company intends to focus on growing the business here. Last July also, Uber had announced an investment of USD 1 billion in India to expand its services in India
The latest funding has made Uber one of the most highly valued venture capital-backed companies globally valuing the company at USD 62.5 billion