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Uber and Didi Kuaidi looking to legalise their China operations

Both Uber, the infamous American taxi-hailing company and Didi Kuaidi, its Chinese rival, have said they're applying for licences to legalise their operations in China.

China is an extremely important market for both firms, but they’re currently operating in the country’s legal grey zone. Traditional taxi drivers have protested against the companies worldwide on multiple occasions, sometimes prompting local authorities to change the law in order to eliminate the unfair advantage these companies allegedly have over traditional taxis.

Uber China said in a statement on Thursday it was "actively preparing" documents to apply for a license to operate an online car-hailing platform to meet new regulations governing the sector that are expected to be announced soon, Reuters wrote in a report.

Didi Kuaidi also said on Thursday it had received a car booking license for its operations in Shanghai and that it was seeking more licenses from other cities.

"This license is a key milestone for the official recognition and the legal status of private car-hailing services in China," Didi Kuaidi said in the statement.

The two rivals are currently locked in a war for both territory and drivers, as they invest billions to lure riders with large discounts and various offerings. Chinese authorities have said that drivers who lack the proper licenses are operating outside the law.

The local Didi Kuaidi is the dominant taxi-hailing app in China. However Uber has recently closed a $1.2 billion (£780m) deal which will see the company enter more than 100 Chinese cities in the next year.