Saudi Telecom Co. buys stake in riding-hailing app Careem

The Saudi Telecom Co. has bought a 10-percent stake in the ride-hailing app Careem, which is a Mideast competitor of Uber.

The largely state-owned communication firm announced Sunday in a stock exchange filing it bought the stake for $100 million.

Saudi Telecom Co. said the purchase is “in line with the company strategy to invest in the innovative digital world.”

Dubai-based Careem, which began operations in July 2012, operates in 11 countries across the Mideast.

This is yet another big investment in ride-hailing apps for Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative Sunni-ruled kingdom where women are not allowed to drive.

In June, the oil-rich nation’s sovereign investment fund announced it would invest $3.5 billion into San Francisco-based Uber. Uber has said 80 percent of its passengers in Saudi Arabia are women.