Indian business giant Tata is investing up to $100 million in ride hailing app Uber as it plans to develop new products and services in India, its biggest market outside of the U.S.
The investment came from Tata Opportunities Fund (TOF), the private equity fund advised by Tata Capital, the group's financial services arm. The exact investment was not disclosed but was between $80 million and $100 million, according to sources close to the deal.
Uber has been making a big push into Asia and the latest partnership comes after the San Francisco-based company said last month that it would pour $1 billion into expansion in India. The taxi firm said this would see it hit 1 million daily rides by March 2016.
The exact terms of the partnership with Tata was not made clear but is expected to focus on the development of new products and solutions, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the deal. The money would not only be used in India but globally, the source added.
The Tata group operates a huge number of services from automobiles to logistics, businesses that Uber could potentially tap into with the latest partnership.
"Right now, we're particularly focused on building a great service for hundreds of millions of Indians - Tata's leadership and experience will be crucial in helping us meet this important goal," Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, said in a statement.
Uber has been looking at new services tailored specifically to the Indian market. This year, it trialed cash payments in the Indian city of Hyderabad.
The start-up is present in 18 Indian cities and has over 150,000 drivers but it's not the only taxi app in the market. Domestic rival Ola this year raised $400 million, valuing it at $2.5 billion, and claims to have over 200,000 drivers. Ola has ambitious plans to double the number of cities in which it operates to 200 by the end of the year.
Globally however, Uber operates in 59 countries and recent fundraisings have put its value at an estimated $50 billion. But Uber's experience in India has not been plain sailing. The service was banned in New Delhi after one of its drivers was accused of raping a passenger. The ban was later revoked.
India is not the only Asian market where Uber is staking its future. Earlier this year, the ride hailing app said it was nearing one million trips a day in China and was looking for fresh funds to help it compete in the market.
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