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Uber Leaves Planet China


When it comes to the Internet, China is a different planet. In this parallel universe, Google is mirrored by Baidu; Amazon, by Alibaba; Facebook, by WeChat. Now Didi has come to take the place of Uber. The ride-sharing company cannot be faulted for not trying. It did, massively. And for Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, the conquest of the Chinese market amounted to a personal challenge. But it ended up selling its local business to Didi. To be sure, the transaction cannot really be cast as a failure for Uber. It has retained a 18 percent stake in the merged company. Uber’s $2 billion investment is now worth $7 billion, and set to rise exponentially. But on a deeper level, it did not manage to tackle China. Few non-Chinese companies have –think of Apple or Microsoft. A history tip should help. A major power as it is, China has historically had a strong inclination towards isolationism, rather than expansionism. Its quintessential landmark is proof and metaphor of this. China built the Great Wall to keep foreigners out. Not that much has changed since its construction began in the 7th century A.D.


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