Uber merges with Yandex in six countries

Te exterior of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP)
Updated 13 July 2017
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Uber merges with Yandex in six countries

MOSCOW: Uber on Thursday announced that it was merging in Russia and five other ex-Soviet states with the taxi hailing app of the country’s leading Internet giant, Yandex.
“Uber and Yandex have entered into an agreement to form a new company,” the head of Uber’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, said in a statement, calling it “an exciting opportunity in a unique situation.”
The merger applies to ex-Soviet Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and will also cover Armenia and Georgia, where Uber does not currently operate — in total covering 127 cities, he said.
The move follows the sale by Uber of its China business in 2016 following a ferocious battle for market share.
The company’s chief executive Travis Kalanick resigned in June under pressure from investors over a corporate culture rife with bullying and sexism.
Uber launched in Russia three and a half years ago. Yandex started its taxi app in 2011 and controlled more than half of the market in 2016.
Yandex.Taxi’s general director Tigran Khudaverdyan said in a statement that the joint venture would provide 35 million taxi journeys per month.
He said the aim was to “create a platform that will be comparable in terms of comfort and accessibility with having your own car.”
Yandex said the joint company was worth $3.725 billion. It said it was investing $100 million into the venture, with a 59.3 percent stake.
Uber said its investment is $225 million and its 36.6 percent stake will be worth almost $1.4 billion. The remaining stake will be held by employees.
The companies said that passengers could continue to use the separate apps, while drivers will work using a single platform.
The combined venture will also include Uber’s EATS online meal delivery business.
The third major player in the Russian marketplace is Gett, launched in Israel in 2011, which covers more than 70 Russian cities.


In nod to debt concerns, China Belt and Road summit to urge sustainable financing

Updated 21 April 2019
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In nod to debt concerns, China Belt and Road summit to urge sustainable financing

  • The Belt and Road Initiative envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond
  • But the initiative has proved controversial in many Western capitals, particularly Washington

SHANGHAI: World leaders meeting in Beijing this week for a summit on China’s Belt and Road initiative will agree to project financing that respects global debt goals and promotes green growth, according to a draft communique seen by Reuters.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a key policy of President Xi Jinping and envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending.
But it has proved controversial in many Western capitals, particularly Washington, which views it as merely a means to spread Chinese influence abroad and saddle countries with unsustainable debt through nontransparent projects.
The United States has been particularly critical of Italy’s decision to sign up to the plan last month, the first for a G7 nation.
In an apparent nod to these concerns, the communique reiterates promises reached at the last summit in 2017 for sustainable financing — but adds a line on debt, which was not included the last time.
“We support collaboration among national and international financial institutions to provide diversified and sustainable financial supports for projects,” the draft communique reads.
“We encourage local currency financing, mutual establishment of financial institutions, and a greater role of development finance in line with respective national priorities, laws, regulations and international commitments, and the agreed principles by the UNGA on debt sustainability,” it added, referring to the United Nations General Assembly.
The word “green” appears in the draft seven times. It was not mentioned once in the summit communique from two years ago.
“We underline the importance of promoting green development,” the draft reads. “We encourage the development of green finance including the issuance of green bonds as well as development of green technology.”
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, said on Friday that the Belt and Road project is not a “geopolitical tool” or a debt crisis for participating nations, but Beijing welcomes constructive suggestions on how to address concerns over the initiative.
A total of 37 foreign leaders are due to attend the April 25-27 summit, though the United States is only sending lower-level representatives, reflecting its unease over the scheme.
The number of foreign leaders at the April 25-27 summit is up from 29 last time, mainly from China’s closest allies like Pakistan and Russia but also Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
China has repeatedly said Belt and Road is for the benefit of the whole world, and that it is committed to upholding globally accepted norms in ensuring projects are transparent and win-win for all parties.
“We emphasize the importance of the rule of law and equal opportunities for all,” the draft reads.