Uber eyes expansion to 100 Chinese cities

Uber eyes expansion to 100 Chinese cities
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The CEO of Uber, the ride-hailing service that just closed a $1.2 billion fundraising round in China, says the company plans to expand to 100 more cities in the country within the year.

Travis Kalanick, a founder of the company as well as its chief executive, said Tuesday that the company was looking to complete the massive expansion, up from fewer than 20 cities served inside a year, according to a Reuters report.

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He made the remarks at an event held by Chinese digital giant Baidu, which contributed to the fundraising haul for Uber’s Chinese subsidiary announced last week. Uber is reportedly valued at close to $51 billion.

While the company has frequently dominated its competition in the United States, it faces challenges in China. Rival service Didi Kuaidi has reportedly raised about $3 billion this summer.

Internet firms operating in China often have to tangle with the government, which exerts control over foreign firms. Kalanick suggested the government would be open to Uber’s expansion.

"Progress is something we see the government be incredibly open to, whether it be about more jobs and less pollution, less congestion on the streets, better utilization of infrastructure, that kind of progress always has to be in harmony with stability and that is one of the big things that we partnered with the government on," Kalanick said, according to Reuters.

China is viewed as a potentially lucrative market for technology companies, though some, like Google, have historically chafed at the restrictions placed on firms by the government.

Kalanick is the public face of Uber, which has faced criticism from taxi drivers and city and state regulators. He will appear as a guest on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" on Thursday, the same day that Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenThe Hill's 12:30 Report Pence talks regularly to Biden, Cheney: report Biden moving toward 2020 presidential run: report MORE visits the show.