Uber bids $3 billion on Nokia Here mapping business: Report

Uber has reportedly put in a $3 billion bid for Nokia Here, just days after it emerged that a consortium of German car manufacturers had made a bid for the mapping business with the help of China's Baidu.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor and  Liu Jiayi, Contributor

Ride-sharing app Uber has joined the bidding war for Nokia Here maps, offering up to $3 billion for the company, according to The New York Times.

In a report published on May 7, the NYT's Mark Scott and Mike Isaac said that three unnamed people with knowledge of the offer had indicated that Uber had already submitted the bid.

The Nokia Here maps business is one of the three units that remained at Nokia after it sold its handset-making devices business to Microsoft for $7.2 billion in April last year. Last month, Nokia confirmed that it is considering selling Here as it weighs up its options for the future of the business.

The reports of Uber's bid follow hot on the heels of reports earlier this week by The Wall Street Journal that German auto manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, had formed a consortium to buy the Nokia Here business, with the help of Chinese search company Baidu.

The WSJ's William Boston and Ilka Kopplin suggested in the report that the move by the German consortium was made as a defensive move aimed at preventing Silicon Valley companies from controlling the future of autonomous cars -- a goal with which Californian internet giant Google has made substantial headway.

Uber, based in San Francisco, has made moves to develop autonomous vehicles, signing a strategic partnership in February with Carnegie Mellon University in a bid to launch its Uber Advanced Technologies Centre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The company hinted at the time that as part the operations at the centre, researchers will seek to develop driverless cars, as well as technology around vehicle safety.

The NYT said its sources indicated that negotiations over the sale of Nokia's mapping business are continuing, and that the talks may not lead to a deal.

Uber under pressure in China, two offices raided in one week

Meanwhile, Uber is being put under increasing pressure recently, as two of its headquarters in major Chinese cities were raided by the authorities within seven days, local Chinese media reported.

According to Jinghua.cn's report, published on Thursday, Uber's Chengdu office in central China was raided by a team of officers from local transportation, business, and public safety departments on May 6, while many worried drivers clamoured outside, with at least one questioned by the authority.

Although the spokesperson for Uber told Beijing News that it was just "a routine visit" that will not affect the company's operations, another raid was carried out by authorities in the south China city of Guangzhou.

It was reported that more than 1,000 iPhones at Uber's Guangzhou HQ were confiscated during a raid on April 30.

"We will keep our consistent pressure on illegal business operations that interfere with the public transportation order," the mouthpiece newspaper Guangzhou Daily quoted the municipal transportation department as saying.

The expansion of taxi service companies such as Uber, which now runs its business in nine Chinese cities, have received strong resistance from traditional taxi drivers, who think the "designated car and shared car" service provided by the app is taking away their customers. The Chinese central government also said during the 2015 National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that it will never allow private vehicles to conduct business operations, an illegal and yet common practice adopted by almost all taxi-hailing app companies.

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