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Uber China woos Hainan Airlines to secure heavy funding, revalued at 8b USD

Jing Gao

Uber China has wooed another heavyweight investor – Hainan Airlines, raising its valuation to eight billion USD, according to Chinese news publication, The Paper.

Hainan Airlines, the fourth largest airliner in China in terms of fleet size, made the investment through the Free Trade Zone in the northeast port city of Tianjin. “This investment from Hainan Airlines in Uber is the largest outbound investment in the city’s history,” Pei Lei, the public relations representative for the Free Trade Zone, told The Paper.

Uber China has confirmed that Hainan Airlines will acquire a stake in the ride-sharing app’s entity in China, “Uber China’s overall fundraising is going smoothly as planned. Uber China has reached consensus with Hainan Airlines on equity investment and other strategic cooperation.”

However, the FTZ, Hainan Airlines and Uber China have all declined to give specifics about the size of the investment.

In September, Uber founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick told the media that Uber’s Chinese division will be raising funds as a standalone company and that it had received 1.2 billion USD from Chinese investors, including search giant Baidu.

Didi Chuxing, a homegrown ride-hailing service and Uber China’s biggest rival in the country, closed a three-billion-USD funding round in September and is now valued at 16 billion USD.

In recent years, HNA Group, the parent company of Hainan Airlines, has been upping the ante in the game of global acquisitions. Hainan has been particularly active over the past three months. At the end of July, Hainan inked a deal in Zurich, Switzerland, with PAI Partners SAS, from which it bought airport luggage handler Swissport International Ltd. for 2.73 billion Swiss francs (2.81 billion USD).

At the end of August, HNA Group acquired 30 South Colonnade, the landmark office building in London that houses newswire service, Thomson Reuters, for an undisclosed amount. In early September, HNA Group announced it would buy Irish aircraft leasing firm Avolon Holdings Ltd for 7.6 billion USD through its HNA group subsidiary Bohai Leasing.

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