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Ola may launch service in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka


Home-grown cab-hailing major Ola is gearing for global expansion in coming months. The Bengaluru-based company is reportedly looking at neighboring markets such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh for international foray.

According to a report by Gadget 360, after getting into aforementioned countries, Ola will also foray into other countries in Asia and North Africa.

Ola recently began integrating support for international phone numbers in its app, which hints that company is contemplating global launch soon. Preparing for its global launch, Ola also started beefing up local requirements including local SMS support, currencies and user interface, added the report.

Importantly, Ola’s rival and ride-hailing juggernaut – Uber already has presence in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Ola’s international ambition comes after expiration of GOLD alliance (alliance between Grab, Ola, Lyft and Didi).

These ride-hailing apps in respective countries forged alliance to counter Uber. However, after merger of Uber and Didi in China, they are free to enter competing markets. Following its exit from China, India is the biggest market for Uber after the United States.

Of late, Ola has been aiming to circumvent its arch rival Uber on various fronts. After launching electric cab fleet in Nagpur, the company plans to introduce electric cabs and rickshaws in at least eight cities by next March.

According to a FactorDaily report last month, Ola is also planning to become an electric vehicle maker.

Currently, Ola operates in 110 cities in India while Uber has presence in 29 cities. Both companies have been engaged in fierce battle for years to gain marketshare.

Meanwhile, Uber has been entangled in back to back scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment in the US. Following the revelation, Travis Kalanick, the Chief Executive had to resign last month under investors pressure.

Ola’s decision to launch in neighbouring market makes sense, however it can’t afford to divert focus from Indian market where it has maintained leadership position. In past, the company also tried to get into multiple businesses but they (food and grocery delivery) failed miserably. Going forward, it would be interesting to watch Ola’s international debut and how it fares.

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