Car hire service Uber is to be given $3.5bn (£2.43bn) in funds from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The money is to help the company’s expansion in the Middle East and will see the fund’s managing director Yasir al Rumayyan take a seat on Uber’s board.

Uber is to invest $250m in the Middle East, which it describes as one of its fastest-growing markets.

In Saudi Arabia, 80% of its customers are women. Women are banned from driving themselves in the country.

Despite concerns raised about the standards and licencing of drivers, ride-hailing apps have grown rapidly around the world.

Toyota and Volkswagen have already struck a deal with Uber and Israel-based rideshare company Gett.

General Motors has given $500m to US-based Lyft to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars.

Apple has also invested $1bn in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing.