Uber is taking on China. The ride-service giant is already providing 100,000 rides per day in China’s cities, and as the New York Times reports, they’re sparing no expense to build a stronghold in the Chinese market.
Fat with almost $6 billion in venture capital, Uber, based in San Francisco, is doling out bonuses up to three times the amount of its fares, in a bet that its exceptional rise in the United States can be matched in China.
Uber also announced last month that it has created 60,000 jobs in China, and riders are happy with Uber, as prices are about 35 percent less than a traditional taxi in China.
Despite the fast growth, Uber’s Chinese expansion is not without problems. Like in many other cities, the company is facing protests by traditional Chinese taxi drivers. Also, according to the Times:
[Uber] faces homegrown Chinese rivals like Didi Kuaidi, which has more than 90 percent of the market and is backed by two of the largest Chinese Internet companies, Alibaba and Tencent. It also may have to grapple with a fickle central government that could shut it out of the market overnight.
Still, executives are optimistic.
“We’re particularly optimistic in China,” Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick said in a speech in China last month. “I’ve just seen cities everywhere and have found that mayors and city governments are far more focused on progress in their cities here in China than I’ve seen elsewhere, and it makes me incredibly optimistic.”
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.