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Uber expects India to become bigger market than US


Cab-hailing segment in India has been witnessing fierce battle between home-grown major Ola and global behemoth Uber from past three and half years. Both companies claim lead over other in terms of market share. However, Uber exit from China and Russia along with recent cultural as well as leadership crisis at the San Francisco-based company triggered concern for its prospect in India.

Cornering the aforementioned concerns, Uber continues to see India as a priority market. According to David Richter, SVP of business, Uber – India may take over its home turf US in terms of number of trips.

Answering a query to the Economic Times about prospect of Uber India overtaking the US in terms of marketsize, Richter said, “In the number of trips, it is a high likelihood, simply given the scale of India and population.”

Of late, Uber is making rapid strides in India. It recently hit 500 million trips in the country and also claimed that it did 9.4 million trips a week in July as compared to 5.5 million trips it used to do in August last year.

Uber claimed to have registered growth of over 115 per cent between July 2016 to July 2017. “We are a company with a significant commitment; we are now over 1,000 employees in India. It is unchanged. In fact, it is only growing. There is no sign of it slowing,” added Richter.

Besides the US, the company has an unflinching focus on countries like India, Brazil, and Mexico. “These are the three very robust countries that have already shown tremendous growth and are showing no signs of letting up,” said Richter.

While Uber claims to have 450,000 registered drivers on its platform out of which 285,000 were active in July, Ola said it had 800,000 driver partners. Importantly, Ola didn’t give number of active drivers on its platform.

Both ride-hailing companies had started slashing drivers incentive from the second half of last year. As a result, drivers are quitting cab hailing platforms. According to a Redseer Consulting report – both companies are struggling to match up to consumer demand.

Speaking about drivers unhappiness issue, Richter explained, “We are committed to providing compelling economic opportunity for our drivers, as well as safe transportation options. So we are relying more and more on technological innovation. As we also grow in terms of scale, we are also committed to sustainable growth.”

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