Uber is planning a huge expansion in China

5 stunning stats about Uber
5 stunning stats about Uber

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said Tuesday that his company will be operating in 100 Chinese cities within a year, twice as many as previously estimated.

The prediction comes as Uber pours resources into Asia, particularly China and India. The U.S.-based transportation app faces stiff competition from homegrown outfits, and is locked in a race for market share across both countries.

"What we've seen here in China is growth that far outpaces anything we've seen before." Kalanick said at Beijing event hosted by Chinese tech firm Baidu.

At the beginning of 2015, Uber had only about 1% of the market in China, he said. Nine months later, Uber has market share of 30% to 35%.

Uber, which is worth an estimated $50 billion, currently operates in 20 Chinese cities. In June, Kalanick had set a goal of expanding to 50 markets in China.

The road to 20 cities hasn't been easy. In both India and China, Uber is heavily subsidizing rides, trying to become the dominant player in the market before local rivals gain a stranglehold.

In China, a firm called Didi Kuaidi is the primary challenger.

Related: China slowdown could hit startups like Uber

On Monday, Kalanick revealed that Uber China has raised at least $1.2 billion as part of an ongoing funding round. Didi Kuaidi, meanwhile, has reportedly raised at least $3 billion over roughly the same time period.

The competition is shaping up to be something of an arms race. Kalanick has signed up Baidu (BIDU) as a strategic partner, giving Uber access to the Chinese search giant's mapping technology.

Didi Kuaidi, meanwhile, is backed by Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY), the top two Internet firms in China.

The Baidu partnership has helped Uber build relationships with local governments and officials, which Kalanick said is more important in China than anywhere else.

"Whether it be about more jobs, less pollution, less congestion on the streets ... that kind of progress always has to be in harmony with stability, and that is one of the big things we've partnered with the government on," Kalanick said.

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