Lonely Planet Writer

Want to take a hot air balloon ride in China? It may soon be available through Uber

Soon Uber users in China may be able to use the app for more than just hailing a ride – they’ll be able to book a hot air balloon or boat ride.

Hot air balloons over Yangshou karst mountains in China. Image by Dennis Kruyt/Getty Images

Uber China is branching out into other areas besides daily travel and commutes, according to TechCrunch. The technology news site reports that Uber China’s VP of operations said at a TechCrunch Shanghai event that the new Uber + Travel feature will launch in China this year. The feature will help travellers find additional travel services through UberBoat and UberBalloon – though the features will likely be more about enjoying the ride than getting around. The company is extending its services as it faces stiff competition in China from fellow ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, a company in which Apple invested $1 billion earlier this year, according to the Independent.

Uber has already adapted to other demands, such as launching UberEATS, a service that allows users to order food and have it delivered. The app has also expanded to moto-taxi services in cities like Bangkok, where two-wheels are often better than four at getting around traffic-packed cities. It has also branched out into some more unusual forms of transport, such as partnering with Airbus for the Sundance Film Festival in the US to provide an on-demand helicopter service.