Ola Cabs seeks to expand mobility options into rural India

Uber’s big Indian rival just got a fresh influx of cash from one of China’s biggest tech firms.

Ola announced Wednesday that it had raised $1.1 billion in its latest funding round, led by Chinese internet giant Tencent, along with Japan’s SoftBank and new U.S.-based investors. Softbank is already one of Ola’s major investors.

The Bangalore-based ride-hailing company said it is also in “advanced talks with other investors” to raise an additional $1 billion — taking the overall investment to more than $2 billion.

Ola plans to pour the money into new technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning, an area with which Tencent is all too familiar.

“Our ambition is to build a globally competitive and futuristic transportation system in India,” Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement.

The new investment comes as Ola’s top competitor, Uber, continues to face challenges around the world. Among them, the San Francisco-based firm and its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi are fighting to continue operating in London — one of Uber’s biggest markets — while also going up against Google’s Waymo in court over allegedly stolen self-driving car technology.

Uber and Ola have been locked in a battle for India’s ride-hailing market for several years, one that Ola has been winning thus far. The Indian firm currently has operations in 110 Indian cities, compared to Uber’s 29 cities.

CNNMoney (New Delhi) First published October 11, 2017: 2:14 AM ET

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