Uber is merging its China business with arch rival Didi Chuxing

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Uber has been locked in a fiercely competitive battle with its Chinese rival for some time now (Source: Getty)

Ride-hailing app Uber is merging its Chinese operations with its biggest rival in the region, Didi Chuxing, signalling an end to a long-standing and expensive rivalry.

Didi has confirmed earlier reports of a deal between the two, saying it will acquire Uber's China assets. In return, Uber will take a 17.7 per cent stake in Didi, while Uber China's shareholders will take a 2.3 per cent stake in Didi.

Didi did not confirm the value of the deal, which had been earlier reported at $35bn (£26bn).

Read more: Five things you need to know about the Uber Didi Chuxing deal

Didi will also take a minority equity stake in Uber as part of the deal.

Cheng Wei, Didi's chief executive, will join the board of Uber, while Uber chief Travis Kalanick will join the Didi board.

Uber China will remain a separate brand, but the management teams and technology of the two companies will be integrated.

China has been the scene of a battle for market share for some time now - and Uber last year raised over $1.2bn in a bid to put Didi Chuxing - then Didi Kuaidia - under pressure.

However, earlier this year, Uber boss Travis Kalanick said the tech firm was losing more than $1bn a year in China due to competition with its rival.

Didi Chuxing, which is backed by Apple, recently raised billions of dollars from a range of investors, including a $600m boost from insurer China Life.

Read more: Uber's Apple-backed rival Didi Chuxing just raised billions

“Didi Chuxing and Uber have learned a great deal from each other over the past two years in China’s burgeoning new economy," said Wei.

As a technology leader deeply rooted in China, Didi Chuxing is constantly pushing the frontier of innovation to redefine the future of human mobility. This agreement with Uber will set the mobile transportation industry on a healthier, more sustainable path of growth at a higher level.

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