Uber To Invest $1 Bn For India Expansion
Uber Technologies is reportedly investing $1 billion in India in the next one year, as the online taxi-hailing company looks to expand its services in its biggest market outside the United States. The company said it would use the additional investment to improve operations, expand beyond the 18 Indian cities where it now operates, and develop new products and payment solutions.
“We are extremely bullish on the Indian market and see tremendous potential here,” Amit Jain, president of Uber India told Reuters. He added that “Uber has grown exponentially in India.”
In India, Uber is up against the country’s largest player Ola, which acquired a smaller operator TaxiForSure in March for $200 million.
For the taxi-hailing firm India and China are its priority markets. Last month the company also announced an investment of over $1 billion in China this year as it looks to speed up growth in the world’s second largest economy.
Uber operates in 57 countries, with an estimated value of more than $40 billion. But it has tangled with transport authorities across the globe, along with attorneys seeking to deem Uber drivers as employees entitled to benefits.
Uber, which is currently growing at a whopping 40 percent monthly, is expecting faster growth after the investment, as Jain said.
The growth for Uber has come with regulatory hurdles, much of it after the alleged rape of a woman passenger by a Uber driver in December in Delhi. Uber’s service in the city was banned soon after, but a Delhi court lifted the ban recently, while the company applies for a license under newer stricter rules of the Delhi transport department.
Uber said it plans to support over 200,000 full-time job opportunities in the country on its app by 2016, with another target of 50,000 jobs for women by 2020. Earlier this month, in association with Indian healthcare network Oxxy, the company has announced that it will enable access to better healthcare for Indian drivers.
Uber has also restarted accepting credit card payments in India, nine months after it stopped accepting such payments due to concerns raised by the Reserve Bank of India. Starting this week, Uber users on Android will be able to pay by credit card along with the existing digital payment option, Paytm wallet.
Over the last 20 months, it has expanded to 18 cities in the country, and introduced cash payments that are popular in the country, and uberAuto, a service that offers rides on India’s ubiquitous three-wheeler autorickshaws. An industry source said Uber now records 200,000 trips daily.
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