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Uber Lost Its Way in China in 2016--but World Domination Is Still the Master Plan

Travis Kalanick, founder and CEO of Uber. CREDIT: Simone Perolari/LUZ/Redux  

Editor's note: Inc. Magazine will announce its pick for Company of the Year on Tuesday, November 29. Here, we spotlight Uber, one of the contenders for the title in 2016.

When Uber appeared in Inc.'s Company of the Year package in 2015, the story was international expansion. Uber was hosting as many rides in China as in the U.S. Its promise lay in flexing its muscles as a taxi-alternative in China and other countries.

A lot can change in 12 months.

In August, Uber announced the merger of its China branch with domestic competitor Didi Chuxing in exchange for roughly a 20 percent stake in the Chinese company. The move served as a rare moment of deference, as the startup juggernaut effectively gave up its share of the rapidly growing Asian ride-hailing market. But you'd be mistaken to take it as a sign of weakness.

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