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October 21, 2015

Uber not surging towards IPO, says CEO

News: Travis Kalanick also discussed competition in China, as well as driverless cars.

By Charlotte Henry

Uber is not going to be going public any time soon, according to its founder and CEO Travis Kalanick.

Speaking at Wall Street Journal’s technology conference WSJDLive, Kalanick said: "Give us a few years, give us a little time and when the time is right, something like that will happen."

He said that his firm, which is currently valued at around $50bn, is still too young for such a move.

"We are like eighth-graders and somebody is telling us that we need to go to the prom," he said. "It’s just a little early. Give us enough time."

Kalanick did concede that Uber board member Bill Gurley, and Facebook boss Mark Zuckerburg, are in favour of taking the firm public.

He said that Zuckerburg "became a huge proponent of going public and I’m not sure. Like, like, is this misery enjoys company? Or is there something else going on? He’s a big proponent – like Bill Gurley."

Another big theme of Kalanick’s comments was his firm’s growth in China. He has been partly running the day-to-day operations of UberChina, which currently brings in about 30% of trips on Uber.

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It is competing with China’s Didi Kuaidi, which has a strategic partnership with Uber’s main US rival, Lyft, and Kalanick has made provisions of $1bn for growth in the country.

He accepted that Didi Kuadi investor Tencent Holdings has made life difficult for his firm by doing things like blocking it on popular messenging app WeChat, but does not believe that Didi Kuadi are getting favourable treatment from Chinese regulators.

Kalanick also said that he believed Google is the furthest along the process of developing driverless cars.

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