Uber will expand to 100 more cities in China over the next year, CEO Travis Kalanick said in a speech in Beijing Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement comes as China’s economic growth is slowing while turbulence rocks its stock markets.
The ride-sharing service already operates in almost 20 cities across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and others. Kalanick told investors in June that its China operations had grown to provide almost 1 million rides every day in the country–a milestone that Uber only reached last year for its global operations.
“To put it frankly, China represents one of the largest untapped opportunities for Uber, potentially larger than the U.S.,” Kalanick wrote to investors.
The Chinese government is set to create formal, national regulations for the ride-sharing industry later this year. Uber has previously faced obstacles in China for operating under regulatory uncertainty. In March, its account on WeChat, an essential social media platform, was shut down. In May, Chinese police raided Uber’s offices in Guangzhou and Chengdu.
Uber’s rapid scale-up in the country pits it against Didi Kuaidi Joint Co., a recently-created company born of a merger between China’s two biggest ride-hailing apps. Didi Kuaidi has backing from Chinese giants like Tencent and Alibaba. In June, Didi Kauidi accounted for 80% of all hailed private cars in China and almost all of the taxis hailed by smartphone, per the Wall Street Journal.
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