Uber Technologies Inc. will redeploy 150 engineers from its China operations to other key markets such as Southeast Asia after agreeing to sell its business in the world’s most populous nation, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.
The San Francisco-based employees will develop new features such as mapping as it boosts services for the region that includes Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Didi Chuxing said yesterday it will buy Uber’s operations in China, putting an end to a yearlong war between the world’s two largest ride-sharing companies.
The China deal will also allow Uber to free up capital to double down on putting resources into other markets and hire more engineers locally in India, the people said. Uber has a total global workforce of about 8,000, spanning engineering, marketing and operations. Uber declined to comment.
Uber’s shift is a sign it won’t let up in its battle for customers elsewhere in Asia even after reaching a peace deal for China. The world’s most valuable startup competes with Singapore-based Grab for ride-hailing customers in Southeast Asia, a region that also includes Malaysia and Vietnam, while also tackling Go-Jek in Indonesia and going head-to-head with Ola in India.
Didi is in an alliance with Grab, Ola and Lyft Inc. that unites four rivals to Uber. It’s not clear what impact the China deal will have on that alliance.
Grab Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan sent an internal memo to employees yesterday, reassuring them Didi’s victory showed that local companies are better positioned for dominance of the local market.
“With the deal in China, we expect Uber to turn more attention and divert resources to our region,” according to the memo seen by Bloomberg. “They’ve lost once, and we will make them lose again.”
Grab operates in 30 cities across six countries.
Having raised more than $15 billion and valued at $68 billion, Uber has a long bench of investors from venture capitalists and hedge funds to sovereign wealth funds. Since its inception in 2012, Grab has raised at least $680 million, based on disclosed information, with investors including Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd., Tiger Global Management LLC, Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd., SoftBank Group Corp., China Investment Corp. and Didi.
Under the Didi deal, Uber and its backers will have a 20 percent economic interest in China’s largest ride-sharing company. Didi is also investing $1 billion in Uber.