Saudi Arabia's $3.5 billion injection into ride-hailing app Uber could be best utilized in the world's second-largest economy, Zhen Liu, senior vice president of Uber China, said, as the U.S. firm faced down homegrown rival Didi Chuxing
The funds could help Uber China improve on product innovation, quality control, and customer service, which were the company's three key areas of focus, she told CNBC on Friday at the sidelines of Converge, a technology conference in Hong Kong hosted by the Wall Street Journal and f.ounders, adding that Saudi Arabia's investment was "a vote of confidence in Uber and the ride-sharing market."
She didn't elaborate how the money could be put to work in those sectors, but pointed to services such as uberCOMMUTE as an example of recent innovation. First piloted in China last year, uberCOMMUTE enabled drivers to recoup the cost of their trip, including gas, if they shared the journey with a passenger.
Other new Chinese features included the use of payment platform Alipay to hail a ride within the mainland and abroad.
Such new forays signaled Uber's commitment to bolster its finances following reports in February that it was losing $1 billion a year in China.
The San Francisco-based enterprise has been valued at more than $60 billion.