Uber in China Will Soon Let Customers Book Boats and Hot-Air Balloons

Uber is cooking up some extra services for its customers in China, allowing them to travel not just by car, but also by boat and even hot air balloon.

The initiative, which is part of the company’s new Uber+Travel project was announced by Uber China’s vice president of operations Kate Wang on Monday at TechCrunch Shanghai. The idea is to provide customers all transportation needs when they travel internationally, which may occasionally include boats and air balloons.

Facing tough competition in the billion-dollar market against homegrown giant Didi Chuxing, Uber China is shown to be banking on new ideas and creative ventures to win clients. The line-up of upcoming services are said to be geared to position the company as an all-in-one solution for transportation, food and entertainment.


Speaking at the conference, Wang also introduced UberLIFE, a new digital magazine service for passengers to keep them in the know of the company’s local events.

According to their research, Uber users tend to stay in its app for 90 seconds after they get inside their car. The digital content to be provided by Uber Life is set to take advantage of the customers’ attention, in hopes of fitting it into the company’s future evolution even beyond ride hailing.

“This reminds us that Uber is a global service serving global citizens,” she said. “It is rooted in each of the cities.”

Both Uber+Travel and UberLIFE, which are expected to fully roll-out this year, will only be available in China.

Other initiatives the company plans to roll out include: UberEATS, an on-demand food delivery service and a partnership with Xchange Leasing, a separate company that offers flexible short-term car leasing to its drivers.

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