A driver for the Uber Technologies Inc. ride-hailing service, uses a mobile phone while sitting in a taxi in New Delhi, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Uber ‘Doubling Down’ On Investment In Indian Market

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Cab aggregator Uber today said it is “doubling down” on its investment in the Indian market, pumping in funds to expand its products, partnerships and technology headcount in the country.

“India is absolutely a core market, now and in the future. Uber’s success is hard coded to India’s success...We are doubling down on our investments in this country like never before,” Uber COO Barney Hardford told reporters.

He added that the company’s recent deal with Grab in South East Asia has “freed up resources which we are going to invest across people, products and partnerships that can better serve this country and the cities that we operate in”.

He also reiterated that while the company is open to discussions, there is no interest in doing a minority stake deal in India.

There have been reports about Uber and rival Ola joining forces in the Indian market. The speculations got stronger after SoftBank – an investor in Ola – joined Uber as an investor committing over $1 billion. Apart from India, the two now also compete in the Australian market, with Ola recently launching its services in Perth and Sydney.

Also Read: Uber Looks Beyond Smartphones To Catch Up With Ola

According to sources, the two have held multiple rounds of discussions, including one just before Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s visit in February this year, but the two parties are yet to strike a deal. Both, Ola and Uber have declined to comment specifically on whether the two are engaged in merger discussions.

Uber today released a report it commissioned through Boston Consulting Group that states congestion costs in four Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru – were estimated to be $ 22 billion per year.

The report said on an average, commuters take 1.5 times longer to travel a given distance in peak hours compared to travel time during non-peak hours.

Ride-sharing would reduce private cars by 33-68 percent, it added.

Also Read: The Lure Of Ola-Uber Economy Is Waning In Jobs-Starved India

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