It was a monumental occasion for Uber when the ridesharing service announced its billionth ride back in December, a milestone that took five-and-a-half years to reach. It only took Uber six months, however, to double that figure, reports Reuters.
According to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who took to Facebook to announce the news, Uber reached 2 billion rides on June 18. Unlike when Uber reached its 1 billionth ride, which was a single London UberX ride, the ridesharing service’s 2 billionth ride was completed through 147 simultaneous rides in 16 countries.
“These trips happened in 16 countries on five continents,” wrote Kalanick. “The longest of the bunch lasted more than an hour as the rider and driver worked their way across Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital. The shortest, a POOL trip in Changsha, China, lasted just three minutes.”
As a way to celebrate, Uber will give $450 to each of those drivers and $450 of free trips to each of those riders.
Uber said 31 percent of those 147 rides were in the U.S. However, the largest share belonged to China, where 37 percent of the rides took place. With as much headway as Uber has accomplished in the country, however, the ride-hailing service faces stiff competition in the form of Didi, a rival service that is valued at $28 billion, thanks to a round of funding in June that brought in $7.3 billion.
Didi is also responsible for Uber losing $1 billion a year in China, given the former’s hometown hero status and its considerable financial backing from the likes of Alibaba and Tencent. Uber acknowledged that its entry in the Chinese ride-hailing market will be a bumpy road in the short term, but still maintained that its pockets are deep enough to “win in China in the long term.”
Uber also faces pressure in the legal system, with its investigative contractor admitting to using illegal tactics to find dirt on one of the service’s recent court opponents.