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Uber China users get discount as relief from stock turmoil

Uber China offers discounts following stock turmoil

Ride-sharing app Uber is softening the blow of China's market turmoil by offering discounts to some of its Chinese users, just hours after trading was suspended on the country's stock markets, a company spokesperson told CNBC on Thursday.

Users of the taxi app in Shanghai were notified via text about their discount which read: "It's great working in the security trading industry - you can go home early when market is bearish," according to a translation sent to CNBC.

Uber customers were asked to input a promo code in Manadrin –a pun for "miserable 100%" – to get 50 percent off their ride. The discount was capped at 10 renminbi per trip ($1.52).

The idea came when Ba Shusong, a chief economist of the China Banking Association, took to Weibo – China's version of Twitter – Thursday to tell a joke about how many traders had been fired and had become Uber drivers.

"Starting 2016, I find Uber drivers standard overall got to another level: dressed in nice suits and shoes, very polite and good manners, even know astronomy, geography and all kind of sciences...I couldn't help but curiously ask today at 10am, and found out that they are all security trading companies staff!," he wrote, according to a translation.

Shusong has over 9 million followers on Weibo.

Uber said that the promotions were created by each individual city team. While users in Shanghai were offered in discount, people in other city saw something different, the company's spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, told CNBC via email.

In Chongqing and Shenzhen users saw the car icons in the app turned into stock market charts. In Chongqing, users were also given 8.88 renminbi off their first trip. Eight is considered a lucky number in China.

China has been a big focus for Uber this year. Uber raised $1.2 billion for its Chinese business from search giant Baidu in September. Chief executive Travis Kalanick also said that 30 percent of trips on Uber's app now take place in the world's second-largest economy.

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