Uber China considering local listing to raise funds

Car sharing service may list on the Chinese stock market to raise funds as it looks to expand its operations across China.

Uber Technologies is assessing the possibility of a public listing in China to raise funds for its expansion plans in the country.

Liu Zhen, who oversees the car sharing company's China strategy, said it could list on the local stock market and already was looking to raise money from private investors. The executive was speaking to local media after completing her first 100 days with the company.

Uber is said to be targeting US$1 billion in funds to support its China operations, with existing investor Baidu tipped to participate in the exercise, according to Bloomberg.

Liu declined to provide details about the fund raising exercise, but pointed to plans to launch more services such as UberPool in the Chinese market, where its service is available in 17 cities. The company in the US had raised US$2.8 billion in Series E funding in February, pushing its value to US$41.2 billion.

An Uber spokesperson told Bloomberg CEO Travis Kalanick they believed in keeping companies as private entities as long as possible, though it was not ruling out a listing in China. "Of course there is the possibility that Uber China, which is a separate entity, could at some point in the future list on the Chinese stock market... but, as Travis has always made clear, there are many advantages, for investors, to Uber being a private company, in particular having the freedom to take long-term bets," the spokesperson said.

The service operates as a separate business entity in China, where it faces competition from recently merged car hailing apps, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, which are backed by Tencent and Alibaba.

These services have been facing law enforcement issues in China, as Shanghai authorities clamp down on private cars providing paid rides. Chinese regulators view such services as illegal since these drivers do not have the required operational licences from the government and will face fines and suspension of their driving licence.