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Uber just raised $3.5 billion from the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund

It's the largest chunk of change the company has received from a single investor.

Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Uber just landed $3.5 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Recode has confirmed. It's the most funding Uber, which is valued at $62.5 billion, has ever received from a single investor.

As part of the investment, the PIF managing director, Yasir Al Rumayyan, will be joining the company's board, along with Huffington Post Editor in Chief Arianna Huffington.

"We’ve seen first-hand how this company has improved urban mobility around the world, and we’re looking forward to being part of that progress," Al Rumayyan said in a statement. "As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's sovereign investment arm, we’re focused on achieving attractive long-term financial returns from our investments, while supporting Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the blueprint for diversifying our economy away from oil. This ambitious and far-reaching plan presents a number of goals, including unlocking strategic sectors such as tourism and entertainment, boosting employment opportunities and women’s participation in the workforce, and encouraging entrepreneurship.”

Saudi Arabia plans to bring 1.3 million women into the workforce by 2030, in spite of some of the many legal limitations on women's right to travel with men who are not their immediate family members. For its part, Uber claims 80 percent of its riders in Saudi Arabia are women.

Uber has previously invested $250 million in the Middle East and North Africa region and has more than 395,000 active riders and 19,000 active drivers, according to the company.

As with many of the other regions in which Uber operates around the world, the company is competing against a local player — in the MENA region, that's Careem. Uber is in nine countries and 15 cities across the region.

The announcement comes a few weeks after Uber's competitor in China, Didi, raised $1 billion from Apple.

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