Update (14th February): Cab-hailing company Ola, has reportedly made a soft launch of its services in Australia, starting with the city of Perth. As a part of the offer, Perth-based customers will be given their first two rides free up to the value of $10 per ride.
An Economic Times report quotes sources at the company claiming that there are plans to partner with driver unions to onboard more drivers and work closely with the Australian government to contribute to local transport solutions.
The introductory soft launch also reportedly includes offers for the drivers, this includes a 7.5% driver commissions as compared to around 20% charged by Uber.
Earlier (30th January): Indian ridesharing company Ola has announced its entry into the Australian market, set to begin operation in three cities: Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. This development will mark Ola’s expansion to a foreign market, after operating in India since 2011. The commencement of operations in Australia is subject to the regulatory approval, the company said. It has launched a site for on-boarding private-hire vehicle owners, for the three cities. This development comes a year after it was first reported that Ola is looking to expand to Australia and New Zealand.
Ola’s competitor Uber is already present in Australia, with nearly 82,000 active drivers in the country. The ridesharing and cab technology space in Australia is likely to see rearrangement as another such company Taxify recently entered the market.
The company says it enables transportation for over 125 million users in India, through its network of over 1 million drivers that it hosts across 110 cities.
The development comes following the cab-hailing platform raising $1.1 billion in October led by Tencent Holdings Limited and existing investor SoftBank. SoftBank is also a common investor in its rival Uber which picked up 15% stake in the company for an investment of $1.25 billion along with other investors.
Ola’s expansion drive
It has been reported that apart from Australia and possibly New Zealand, Ola may also expand to other countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and has teams in Dhaka and Colombo.
In its primary market, India, Ola is pushing to diversify its services. Recently, its signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICICI Bank to provide small ticket digital credit to its users. This will also enable booking and payment for cabs through ICICI app, direct payment to Ola drivers in their ICICI accounts, and co-branded credit cards for special offers.
Ola also acquired food delivery app Foodpanda from its Germany-based parent Delivery Hero Group. In its second attempt at food delivery after OlaCafe shutdown, Ola plans to invest $200 million into the Foodpanda India business. Foodpanda India claims to have around 15,000 restaurant partners across 100 cities in India.