Mobile taxi service Uber has revealed its main market is not the United States, but China.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick revealed in an email for additional investment that Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu were the three main cities for taxi trips, overtaking New York.
The size of the growth over the past 12 months is astonishing, with Chengdu seeing 479 times more travels than New York did in nine months after launch in the city. Hangzhou boasted similar numbers, with 422 times more travels than New York in the same time period.
These numbers are a bit skewed in favor of Uber’s growth worldwide, considering the brand and ability to advertise in China has been much greater than when it first launched in New York. Uber even has the backing of Baidu, the largest search engine in China, who has partnered with Uber in the acquisition of Here Maps.
Even though the US is still the main base of operations for Uber, China is becoming more of a primary country for taxi adoption. Uber is one of many mobile taxi services in the region, and the competition is much heavier than in the US and Europe.
This has forced Uber to lower taxi rides and look for other ways to advertise its service to potential customers. Uber plans to invest $1 billion (£640 million) into UberChina over the next year, to push all operations forward.
The funding round Uber is sending to investors valuing the startup at $50 billion (£32 billion) and it is looking for between $1 and $1.8 billion (£640 million and £1.16 billion) from investors for the next few months of operations.