Uber Plans Service in Biggest Pakistan City as Security Improves
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. is set to start its ride-hailing service in Karachi this week as the security situation in Pakistan’s largest city improves.
The San Francisco-based company will offer both cash and electronic methods of payment and will operate in areas with very few incidents of violence such as Clifton, Saddar Town and Korangi, according to Zohair Yousafi, who’s spearheading Uber’s expansion in Pakistan. The company started in Pakistan’s Lahore city earlier this year.
“Pakistan has been really incredible,” Yousafi said in an interview on Tuesday. “Lahore has been one of the fastest growing launch cities in the region’s history. The potential Karachi brings just because of its massive population is huge.”
The on-demand ride service joins Dubai-based Careem in tapping demand in a city that has a population equivalent to that of Australia, and is recovering from decades of sectarian violence, bombings and kidnappings. Bomb attacks dropped 80 percent last year after peaking in 2013, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
“Three to four years ago they wouldn’t have even thought of Karachi but things are better now,” Saad bin Ahmed, chief executive officer of Karachi-based Alternate Research, said by phone. “Pakistan has an ever-growing urban population with rising income level. It’s about global presence for Uber.”
Karachi is the world’s seventh-most populous city, according to Demographia World Urban Areas. Uber attracted 65,000 riders and about 1,000 active drivers in Lahore in the second half of July, according to data provided by Uber.