This week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick made headlines by telling a Canadian media outlet that his ride-hailing company is losing over $1 billion per year in China. But the bigger news, which was largely overlooked, came earlier in that same quote. Uber is now profitable in the United States.
This is pretty big news, and suggests that Uber might be a bit ahead of schedule.
Last year, Kalanick reportedly told company employees that North American operations would be profitable by Q2 2016. Financial projections recently leaked to The Information also suggested that its overall developed markets portfolio “could” be profitable by sometime this year. (For now, it said, only “dozens of cities” in developed markets were in the black).
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But what we do not know is when Uber turned profitable in the U.S., or if that profitability has been consistently sustained.
My understanding is that the U.S. profitability claim includes expenses related to the company’s San Francisco headquarters (i.e., employee compensation, office leases, etc.), although it’s unclear if some of those charges get allocated to overseas operations.
A company spokesperson confirmed the overall profitability, but declined to comment further.