[BEIJING] Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc said late on Wednesday it has struck a deal with China Yongda Automobiles Services Holdings Ltd, a Chinese luxury auto dealer, to provide discounts and financing for Uber drivers' cars.
Under the agreement, Yongda will provide Uber's partners - transportation firms and independent drivers - discounts on new car purchases, finance and after-sales service.
Uber contracts with independent drivers and livery services in 55 countries to provide transportation hailed via its smartphone app.
The deal comes as the fast-growing San Francisco-based company faces intensifying competition in its efforts to expand in the potentially lucrative Chinese market. Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache - two richly-funded startups that share roughly 99 per cent of the ride-hailing market in China - recently merged in a US$6 billion tie-up.
Yongda said it would set aside at least hundreds of millions of yuan to fund the programme, and that the two companies have already rolled out the purchase incentives on German auto maker Volkswagen AG's Audi and Volkswagen models.