China’s largest e-commerce platform Alibaba denied the rumor that it has invested in car-hailing platform UCAR on Thursday, Chinese media says.
Alibaba has no further plans to invest in other ride-hailing businesses other than Didi Kuaidi, Tencent News’ tech channel reported.
A week ago, rumor spread that Alibaba had become a shareholder in China’s car-hailing platform UCAR with RMB 3 billion (USD 461 million), holding 9.8% of its shares.
A leaked photo appeared online that showed an Alibaba investment deal signed by UCAR chairman Lu Zhengyao.
A UCAR spokesperson told AllChinaTech that they had not heard the rumor.
What has been verified is that UCAR announced on Tuesday it had reached a strategic agreement with Alibaba. By opening a UCAR flagship store on Alitrip, more than 400 million Ali users will have automatic access to UCAR services on Ali’s platform.
The major players in China’s car-hailing market include Didi Kuaidi, Uber, UCAR and Yidao Yongche. In recent months, Didi, Uber and Yidao have been subsidizing users in order to compete for a larger market share. That may have fed the rumor that UCAR was accepting financing to be able to join the cash-burning game.
Alibaba invested in Kuaidi Dache to compete with the Tencent-backed Didi Dache before the two merged in February 2015. Didi Kuaidi is now the largest transportation platform dominating 80% of the market share in China.
UCAR secured Series A financing of USD 250 million last July, and Series B financing of USD 550 million in October to push its valuation to USD 3.55 billion.
(Top photo from Newhua.com)