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Uber COO in India: Talk about investment, plans, and expansion in India

Uber’s Barney Harford, who took his position of COO in the company in January this year, is on his four-day maiden trip to India. During his trip, which comes after two months of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s maiden trip in February, Harford spoke about Uber’s plans and investments for India, and how the country is key to Uber’s performance in the coming years, as reported by various media publications. We curated key takeaways from what Harford spoke from the different reports (sources: Reuters, Business Today, PTI etc) Read on.

On Investment

The company will be doubling its investment in India and will infuse in funds of an undisclosed amount to expand its products, partnerships and employee base in the country.

Uber’s success is hardcoded to India’s success, and it is doubling its investments in this country like never before.

Uber’s CEO recently said that India is among the top three markets (US and Latin America being the other two) for Uber and it accounts for 10% of all trips globally. He also added that Uber has over 300,000 active drivers and we currently do over 10 million weekly trips in India.

On Ola merger and minority stake deal in India

Uber has clear strengths in the Indian market and that it see a huge potential in the market. Uber is apparently not interested in doing any minority deals going forward as its commitment to the Indian market is immense. This comment comes on the back of Uber’s recent deal  of selling its South East Asian business to regional rival Grab. As part of the deal, Uber gets 27.5% stake in Singapore-based Grab. The deal will see Grab — which is valued at over $6 billion — buy Uber’s ride-sharing business in eight countries in South East Asia. It will also take over UberEats, which is currently present in three markets, and expand that service across the region during the first half of this year. This was Uber’s second high profile exit from an Asian market, in August 2016 the company sold its Chinese operations to local rival Didi Chuxing. As part of the deal, Uber acquired 5.89% of the combined company while Didi obtained a minority equity interest in Uber.Uber has also exited China and Russia after selling their business to local rivals. However, there are no comments reported on the speculations that Ola and Uber will be merged. According to this The Hindu BusinessLine report, SoftBank, which is a common investor in both the cab-hailing companies is apparently brokering a merger deal between Ola and Uber in India, in which the Japanese conglomerate will hold the controlling stakes.

On expansion

The company also added that it will not be expanding to a lot more cities in the country and that it will focus on scaling operations in the cities they are already present in. Note that, Uber operates in 30 cities in India, while Ola operates in 110 cities.

On electric vehicles

Hardford said that Uber is working to make its flying EVs –Uber Elevate– operational by 2022. Uber has a partnership with Anand Mahindra-led Mahindra & Mahindra to run electric vehicles in Delhi and Hyderabad.

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