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Uber ties up with Times Internet for India expansion

[NEW DELHI] Uber Technologies, the online ride-hailing company, has entered into a "strategic partnership" with India's Times Internet, as it looks to expand operations in its largest market outside the United States.

An Uber spokeswoman said Times Internet, the digital arm of the Times of India media group, would invest "well under" one billion rupees (S$22.1 million) in Uber, that is worth an estimated US$40 billion. "The deal is centered around a commercial marketing arrangement accompanied by a small investment," Uber said in a statement on Monday.

Under the agreement, Times Internet will work on promotions to increase awareness about Uber and also help the US-based taxi company localise its services for India. "India is one of our fastest growing markets ... where we are investing heavily in continued growth," Uber's chief executive Travis Kalanick said in the statement.

The deal comes at a time when Uber is battling regulatory ambiguity over how it will continue to operate in India's capital city, where it was banned following criticism over screening of its drivers after one of them was accused of rape in December.

Uber, however, resumed operations in the city after applying for a radio taxi licence in January. Its application is still under review. Uber currently offers services in 11 Indian cities including New Delhi.

REUTERS