Uber China dismisses rumor of LeTV acquiring its controlling stake

Jing Gao

Uber China denied on Monday that Chinese video giant LeTV will acquire controlling stakes of the company, Tencent Tech reported.

Ride-sharing giant Uber was rumored to have found a new “driver” in China. Citing an anonymous source, Sohu reported on Sunday that Uber may sell control of its China division to LeTV for more than one billion USD. The news went viral on Chinese social network.

LeTV, one of the biggest video streaming websites in China, has high aspirations. It entered the fierce smartphone race this April and has eyes set on the U.S. as its new frontier, planning to encroach on Netflix.

In the past 15 months since entering into China, Uber has maintained fast growth and has become the second largest ride-hailing app in Chinese market after Didi Chuxing.

In August, Uber’s China strategy officer, Liu Zhen, told media that Uber China is becoming an independently operated company to seek funding and investment in China, including the possibility of being listed on local stock markets, according to a report from Hexun.

In September, Uber founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, announced that its standalone China company raised USD 1.2 billion. It reported the funding includes previous investment from Chinese search engine giant, Baidu, totalling USD 600 million.

Still, Uber is seeking to expand total fundraising to USD 2.5 billion in China, the Financial Times reported. This may offer an investment opportunity for LeTV.

Homegrown app Didi Chuxing, the largest player in the market with about 80% market share, has been ruthless in its fundraising and expansion in an effort to snuff out Uber. Didi is backed by Tencent and Alibaba, China’s two largest internet companies, and raised three billion USD in September.

Didi has invested in Uber’s regional rivals, the U.S. based Lyft and India’s Ola, while Uber has partnered with Chinese search giant Baidu, the common foe of Tencent and Alibaba.

To date, LeTV have not issued any statements confirming this story.

(Top photo from Jieman)

Jing Gao

Jing founded her own blog Ministry of Tofu and worked with Los Angeles Times, Greenpeace and LinkAsia. She graduated with a master's degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois.


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