China's Tencent may put $400 million in Ola to fight Uber

China's Tencent may put $400 million in Ola to fight Uber

Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent is in advanced talks to invest in transport app Ola, said a report in The Economic Times.

"Tencent executives were in Bangalore last week and they met the Ola management team to discuss the transaction".

Now the twist in the tale, as reported by the Wall Street Journal yesterday, is that Softbank, which is among the largest investors in ride-hailing networks from Southeast Asia to India to Brazil, is said to be in talks to pick up a multibillion dollar stake in Uber.

The Bengaluru company has raised almost $400 million since November previous year as it seeks to fortify its position as the first mover in the Indian taxi aggregation market.

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The deal will make Tencent one of the most influential investors in the Indian market, with a total investment of over $1 billion.

China-based Tencent is reportedly in final stages to invest ₹2568 crore in Ola.

If Ola manages to sweep the $400 Mn funding from Tencent it will take the fundraising to $800 Mn this year alone.

So far, Ola has raised funds from Ratan Tata's venture fund RNT Capital Advisors, US hedge fund Falcon Edge, SoftBank, and New York-based hedge fund Tekne Capital Management. The way the round was constructed let Ola engage with investors and kept the round open for about six-seven months from the first time SoftBank put in the $250 million, sources said. The funding comes after Ola made a decision to raise capital at a lower valuation of $3 billion - down from $4.5-5 billion in 2015. It recently invested in Flipkart's $1.4 billion funding round, along with Microsoft and eBay. Uber is also battling Google's parent Alphabet's lawsuit which alleges that Uber stole the search giant's proprietary trade secrets around self-driving technology.

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The investment by Tencent will provide the cab aggregator with the financial backing to compete against the Uber app.

Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder & CEO, Ola did not respond to an emailed query till the time of going to press, a Tencent spokesperson also did not comment on the matter. ANI Technologies, which runs Ola, recorded expenses for advertising and sales promotion at Rs 385 crore, a jump of nearly four-fold compared to year ago.

But since then Ola has also started gaining back market share, with its push to add new services like auto and outstation rides that have begun to pay off.

Zomato will integrate Ola APIs into their app, giving easy access to mobility to customers looking for restaurants/eating out options on their app. While Uber publicly said it is registered 5.5 million rides weekly making India its second largest market.

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