The government of Saudi Arabia is investing $3.5bn (£2.4) in Uber in its largest ever investment in a private company.
The move will give Yasir Al Rumayy, managing director of Saudi's Public Investment Fund, a seat on the board of one of Silicon Valley's most valuable firms. The fund will own about five per cent of Uber.
Uber has now raised about $10.7bn from outside investors as the company seeks to expand into markets outside the US, including Russia, China and Quatar, making it the best funded startup in the world and giving it a market value of about $62.5bn.
Uber has also attracted investment from venture capital firms, mutual fund companies like BlackRock and wealthy clients of banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Al Rumayya will join fellow Saudi, princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, who recently joined Uber's international policy advisory board.
Other influential board members include Ray LaHood, former US secretary of transport; Melody Barnes, former director of the domestic policy council at the White House; David Plouffe, Barack Obama's campaign advisor; Neelie Kroes, former European commissioner for competition; and media mogul Arianna Huffington.
Uber said in a written statement that the company hopes to bring some reforms to Saudi, which bans women from driving, and will focus on the safety angle, pointing out that 80 per cent of rides hailed in the country are by women.
"Our experience in Saudi is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities, and we look forward to partnering to support their economic and social reforms," said CEO Travis Kalanick.
Investing in a US company like Uber runs counter to Saudi's threat in April to sell off US investments after discussions about a bill in Congress that would allow the country to be held responsible for any part it may have played in the 9/11 attacks.
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