Uber gains $3.5bn investment from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's investment is a step closer to furthering the country's goal to diversify away from oil
Technology start-up Uber has announced it has received a $3.5bn investment from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.
The move marks the largest investment raised by a private company, plus a crucial play in its expansion into the Middle East.
In a statement, Uber co-founder and chief executive officer Travis Kalanick called the investment a "vote of confidence in our business."
The partnership also sees Yasir Al Rumayya, managing director of the Saudi public investment fund, joins Uber's board, providing a seat for the Middle Eastern government. Furthermore, Uber has revealed that the Saudi's investment puts the company's total balance sheet, including cash and debt, at more than $11bn.
Uber claims that it is helping Saudi Arabia boost entrepreneurship, reducing its dependence on oil and provides a way for riders, especially women, to get around more efficiently.
In a statement, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said: "We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business as we continue to expand our global presence. Our experience in Saudi Arabia is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities and we look forward to partnering to support their economic and social reforms."
The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund says that its investment in Uber is a step towards furthering the country's goal to diversify away from oil by 2030 and to incorporate more women in the workplace.
According to Reuters, Uber is committed to investing $250m in the Middle East and North Africa, and is now operating in nine countries and 15 cities in the region. Howwvwe, as in other regions including China and India, Uber is competing against regional ride-hailing start-us, such as Careem.