Citic Fund Unit Said to Plan $100 Million Uber Investment

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Uber Technologies Inc. isn’t just ramping up its business in China -- the mobile car-booking service is starting to draw investment interest there as well.

A unit of China’s Citic Group Corp. is planning to invest $100 million in the San Francisco-based company, a person familiar with the matter said.

Landing an investment from the state-controlled entity may help accelerate Uber’s business in China. It’s investing more than 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) to expand in the country, with plans to start operating in 50 midsized cities in the next year. Users of the Uber app complete almost 1 million rides daily in China, which is is expected to outgrow Uber’s U.S. home market by the end of this year, Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick wrote in a letter to investors in June.

Citic-CP Asset Management, a joint venture between Citic Trust and Citic-Prudential Fund Management, plans to invest about 80 percent of the $100 million in Uber and about 20 percent in its China unit, said the person, who asked not be identified because the plans are private. Uber has said that its China unit could at some point be listed on the Chinese stock market, without providing a time frame.

Uber’s Beijing-based spokeswoman Huang Xue couldn’t immediately comment. A call to Citic-CP Asset Management outside usual business hours went unanswered.

It wasn’t clear how the latest investment would impact Uber’s valuation, which was pegged at about $50 billion in the last financing round.

Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s main competitor in China, is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Didi attracted Beijing Automotive Group Co. as an investor in its latest funding round, people familiar with the matter said.

Beijing Automotive, controlled by the state-owned Assets Supervision & Administration Commission of Beijing, joins sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. as investors in Didi, according to the people.

— With assistance by Heng Xie

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