NEW DELHI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Indian ride-hailing firm Ola said on Wednesday it has raised $1.1 billion from investors led by China’s Tencent Holdings and Japan’s SoftBank Group and is in advanced talks with other investors for another $1 billion.
Ola and rival Uber have been locked in a fierce battle for a bigger piece of India’s $12 billion taxi market and have burnt millions of dollars to lure riders and drivers in a bid to outdo each other.
Ola said in a statement it will use the funds to increase its numbers of drivers and expand its presence to more cities. The company operates in 110 Indian cities and has a wide range of transport options including bikes, auto-rickshaws and electric cars. Uber is present in about 30 cities.
It also said it will invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, including in technologies like Ola Play that allows riders to choose music and stream videos.
The company is in advanced talks with U.S.-based financial investors for the second tranche, which would also include funds from existing investors, a source close to the company said, declining to be identified as the talks were not yet finalised. (Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)