/Alibaba dismisses rumor of investing in Uber China’s rival UCAR

Alibaba dismisses rumor of investing in Uber China’s rival UCAR

China’s largest e-commerce platform Alibaba denied the rumor that it has invested in car-hailing platform UCAR on Thursday, Chinese media says.

Alibaba has no further plans to invest in other ride-hailing businesses other than Didi Kuaidi, Tencent News’ tech channel reported.

A week ago, rumor spread that Alibaba had become a shareholder in China’s car-hailing platform UCAR with RMB 3 billion (USD 461 million), holding 9.8% of its shares.

A leaked photo appeared online that showed an Alibaba investment deal signed by UCAR chairman Lu Zhengyao.

A UCAR spokesperson told AllChinaTech that they had not heard the rumor.

What has been verified is that UCAR announced on Tuesday it had reached a strategic agreement with Alibaba. By opening a UCAR flagship store on Alitrip, more than 400 million Ali users will have automatic access to UCAR services on Ali’s platform.

The major players in China’s car-hailing market include Didi Kuaidi, Uber, UCAR and Yidao Yongche. In recent months, Didi, Uber and Yidao have been subsidizing users in order to compete for a larger market share. That may have fed the rumor that UCAR was accepting financing to be able to join the cash-burning game.

Photo from Icaijing.com
Photo from Icaijing.com

Alibaba invested in Kuaidi Dache to compete with the Tencent-backed Didi Dache before the two merged in February 2015. Didi Kuaidi is now the largest transportation platform dominating 80% of the market share in China.

UCAR secured Series A financing of USD 250 million last July, and Series B financing of USD 550 million in October to push its valuation to USD 3.55 billion.

(Top photo from Newhua.com)

Ke graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Master's Degree in English and has worked on projects with Ipsos MORI and SDI Media. She's particularly intrigued by China's thriving technology scene and is eager to write about this flourishing industry.