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To counter Uber-Careem duopoly, Ola to hit Dubai road


You may soon see Uber-Ola arch rivalry in Gulf as the Bengaluru-based company is planning to foray into Dubai. This would probably the fourth common market for both Softbank-backed ride-hailing firms.

In the last one year, Ola has expanded its operations in Australia, New Zealand and the UK where Uber had already captured a significant market share.

The development comes just after Uber’s $3.1 billion deal to buy out Dubai-based Careem, a ride-hailing app with operations in over 100 cities across 14 countries.

Citing sources, a Business Standard report said that Ola has sent teams to the Gulf state at least twice over the past year. The report also emphasised that the move isn’t actually influenced by Uber as Dubai market has been on the company’s radar for quite some time.

In Dubai, ride-hailing firms see a bigger ticket size than any country. High digital literacy rate in West Asia will also help it grow like any other market.

Given that many Indians live in the region, the marketing cost, communication, and backend cost would be lower and the company will be able to provide a handsome disposable income to driver partners.

To make a dent in the upcoming market Ola has been planning to raise a bigger round of $1.5-2 billion but Softbank’s re-investment in the company is unlikely to happen.

However, Ola has been able to raise around $500 million in tranches from the likes of Hyundai, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal and Steadview capital in this year only.

Apart from Dubai, Ola is also planning to foray into Amsterdam and recently expanded its services in the UK by launching Ola auto. The company had also tried to enter subcontinent market like Bangladesh and Sri Lanks but there is no official announcement on the same.

Notably, Ola will have a firm foot amongst Unicorns from India like Paytm, OYO, Zomato, and Byju’s that have expanded their operations in foreign markets.

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