Future Opportunities

Senior Uber exec: Chinese government treated us fairly

Uber continues to see opportunity in Asia
Uber continues to see opportunity in Asia

One of Uber's top executives laid to rest rumors that the U.S.-based ride hailing app was squeezed out of China because of unfair regulations.

"It's not apparent to the outside world as much…that the Chinese government did treat Uber fairly," Emil Michael, Uber's chief business officer, told CNBC.

"It just made sense, given the amount of money that was being burned to compete there, to combine with a local player," Michael added, referring to Didi Chuxing's acquisition of Uber's China business in August.

The combined value of the two companies was an estimated $35 billion, with Beijing-based Didi valued at $28 billion valuation and Uber at $7 billion. Didi Chuxing itself is the product of a previous merger between China's two largest ride-sharing app, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache.

Uber Global received 5.89 percent in the combined company, with preferred equity interest, which would be the equivalent of a 17.7 percent stake.

Emil Michael, senior vice president of business development at Uber.
Chris Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Prior to the acquisition, Uber and Didi had battled fiercely and invested billions to try and win a larger slice of the Chinese ride-sharing pie. Earlier in 2016, Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick revealed that the company was losing more than $1 billion a year in China because of the fierce competition.

But Michael added that he views the outcome of Uber China as a successful one.

"We invested $2 billion in China, it is now worth $7 billion today. That is a hell of a success in my view,"" said Michael, who is also a former White House Fellow.

Uber is also not ruling out any future plays in China, Michael said.

"Ride-sharing is going to be a competitive business for a long time in China and outside of China. Who's going to win at the end of the day is the one with the best product and best technologies."

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.


This report has been updated to reflect that Emil Michael's title is chief business officer.