Uber Technologies Inc. is selling its China operations to fierce rival Didi Chuxing, ending an expensive price war and freeing it up to focus on other markets and possibly an initial public offering.
The truce brings to an end a bruising battle between the two companies for leadership in China’s fast-growing ride-hailing market. Uber has already lost $2 billion in China in two years there, people familiar with the matter have said, prompting investors to pressure the company to cut a deal. As part of the arrangement, Didi will invest $1 billion in Uber’s global company, people familiar with the matter said.
Uber has said that it’s profitable in the U.S. and Canada, but losses in developing markets have undercut that hard-fought progress. The huge losses in China have been one of the main sticking points holding up Uber’s potential IPO, according to people familiar with the matter.
“The biggest existential threat to Uber over the last two months was that in China they were losing capital in a way that potentially threatened the rest of their worldwide operations,” said Arun Sundararajan, a New York University professor. “The fact is that in the short term it may seen as a loss, but in the long run it’s a good move. Now they can focus on the rest of the world.”
With China settled, Uber can turn to other countries where it’s fighting for market share, such as Grab in Southeast Asia, Ola in India and Lyft Inc. in the U.S.
Didi is buying Uber’s brand, business and data in the country, the Chinese company said in a statement. Uber Technologies and Uber China’s other shareholders, including search giant Baidu Inc., will receive a 20 percent economic stake in the combined company. Didi founder Cheng Wei and Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick will join each other’s boards.
“Didi Chuxing and Uber have learned a great deal from each other over the past two years,” said Cheng, who is also CEO, in the statement. “This agreement with Uber will set the mobile transportation industry on a healthier, more sustainable path of growth at a higher level.”
Didi’s valuation after the deal will be $35 billion, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named because the details aren’t public. Uber was last valued at almost $68 billion and the arrangement has “removed the big roadblock for an Uber IPO,” Sundararajan said. “Losing money in China would’ve given many pre-IPO investor pause.”
Last year, China’s ride-hailing leaders Didi and Kuaidi joined forces, creating a homegrown juggernaut to fight off Uber. The merged company Didi Chuxing brought together backers Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., the country’s most valuable internet businesses. Apple Inc. joined in this year with a $1 billion investment in Didi, in a round that valued the company at about $28 billion. The Chinese government passed a new rule last week that legalized ride-hailing services, paving the way for further expansion of these businesses.
Uber’s investors had been clamoring for the company to sell off its China assets and focus on more promising opportunities.
“As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that being successful is about listening to your head as well as following your heart,” Kalanick wrote in a blog post obtained by Bloomberg before publication. “I have no doubt that Uber China and Didi Chuxing will be stronger together.”
The deal is subject to government approval. While the combination of the top two players in a market would often raise regulatory scrutiny, officials will have to determine the range of competition. “The ministry of commerce has to define the size of the market and see if the car-hailing business Didi and Uber are offering can be replaced by similar services,” said Deng Zhisong, senior partner at Beijing-based law firm Dentons. “If you count taxi services and public transportation, the car-hailing sector will not have a market share that significant.”
The purchase of Uber’s China business may complicate Didi’s alliance with other ride-hailing startups around the world. Didi had agreed to work with Lyft, Ola and Grab to create a global force to take on Uber. Grab CEO Anthony Tan said in a statement on Monday that the impending deal is a victory for Didi and underscores how the ride-hailing business favors domestic players.
In China, Uber ventured where few U.S. technology companies have succeeded. In 2005, Yahoo! Inc. made a similar deal, selling its businesses in China to Alibaba, along with a $1 billion investment — one of the Silicon Valley company’s best bets.
“China is such a tough market, in terms of regulation, competition and culture; they faced challenges on so many fronts,” said Li Yujie, an analyst at RHB Research Institute Sdn in Hong Kong. “Cooperating with rather than fighting Didi might not be such a bad idea.”
While Uber will walk away from operations in China, it is taking a significant stake in the largest player there. By shedding its massive losses in China, the move could help Uber clear the path for an eventual initial public offering.
“Uber and Didi Chuxing are investing billions of dollars in China, and both companies have yet to turn a profit there,” Kalanick wrote in the blog post. “Getting to profitability is the only way to build a sustainable business that can best serve Chinese riders, drivers and cities over the long term.”
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Fintech Company, Grey, Unveils New Look to Support its Global Expansion Strategy
Grey, a leading cross-border fintech company, has embarked on a significant global brand rebranding initiative, revealing a fresh logo and website design.
This strategic move aligns with the company’s dynamic plans to expand its footprint in the global market.
The company’s transformation was unveiled on its social media platforms on Monday, November 27, 2023. Grey aims to leverage this fresh identity to reach a broader audience and solidify its international presence. The updated brand assets visually represent Grey’s commitment to innovation, excellence, and global connectivity.
The rebranding initiative follows closely on the heels of Grey celebrating a milestone achievement of surpassing 500,000 users. The company’s rapid growth and expanding user base have spurred this bold step towards rebranding, symbolizing success and underlining its dedication to remaining at the forefront of global fintech innovation. Furthermore, the previous logo was not usable in some foreign markets due to trademark conflicts with another company.
Idee Obong, The CEO and founder of Grey, shared insights into the rationale behind the rebranding, stating, “As we chart our course toward serving a global audience, we recognized the need for trademarks and related processes. We identified similarities with existing marks during this evaluation, prompting a deliberate rebrand. The new logo and website signify our forward trajectory, emphasizing global connectivity and our commitment to creating a more interconnected world. Our focus remains on being people-centric and cultivating a lasting community.”
Grey’s brand evolution is occurring at a crucial juncture for the fintech industry, which is positioned for significant opportunities despite recent economic uncertainties. The fintech sector has faced challenges in the past year; notwithstanding, Grey has rapidly scaled, adeptly responding to the heightened demand for its services.
The company has also established key partnerships across both B2B and B2C sectors across Africa over the past months, solidifying its reputation as a trusted and reliable cross-border payments company.
Femi Aghedo, Co-founder of Grey, emphasized the strategic timing of the brand evolution, stating, “The timing simply felt right to evolve our brand. Our growth and evolution as a business needed to be reflected tangibly. We are dedicated to ongoing innovation, adapting our services to meet the dynamic needs of our customers. Our core mission is to provide seamless and secure cross-border payment solutions, empowering businesses and individuals in the global economy. We eagerly anticipate the future of fintech and the opportunities it presents for us to impact the industry positively.”
Furthermore, customers can expect a more innovative and interconnected user experience when engaging on their platforms. As Grey ventures into this exciting new chapter, the team remains committed to providing cutting-edge and secure cross-border payment solutions, fostering global connectivity, and contributing to the evolving landscape of the fintech industry.
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