Indian ride-hailing firm Ola has raised $1.1 billion from investors led by China`s Tencent Holdings and Japan`s SoftBank Group and is in advanced talks with other investors for another $1 billion.
The funds will give a leg up to Ola that has been locked in a fierce battle with rival Uber for a bigger piece of India`s $12 billion taxi market. Both firms have already burnt millions of dollars to lure users in a bid to outdo each other.
Ola will use the funds to increase its numbers of drivers and expand its presence to more cities, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company, which currently has a majority share of India`s ride-hailing market, operates in 110 cities and has a wide range of transport options including bikes, auto-rickshaws and electric cars. Uber is present in about 30 cities.
It also said it would invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, which includes technologies like its in-car entertainment platform called Play that allows riders to choose music and stream videos.
The company is in advanced talks with U.S.-based financial investors for the second tranche, which would also include funds from existing investors, a source close to the company said, declining to be identified as the talks were not yet finalised.
Once the second tranche is complete Ola would have raised over $2 billion. Prior to this, the company had raised about $1.9 billion since it began operations in 2011.
Uber, valued at about $69 billion, has pumped millions of dollars into India but has not been able to grow its presence at the same speed as Ola.
And with Uber`s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi focused on portraying the firm as a reformed company that is turning a page on concerns including sexual harassment claims and a U.S. bribery probe, Ola has an opportunity to further extend its lead in India.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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