Leading radio Taxi service provider Uber is turning India into a regional hub of sorts, as the cab aggregator expands to other South Asian countries. After launching in Sri Lanka late last year, Uber started operations in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in mid-November.
As it continues to scout for more markets, the expansion and the operations are being driven out of the India offices, with country head Amit Jain being elevated as the South Asia president of the San Francisco-headquartered company.
“We are expanding into multiple cities across the region and not just in India alone,” Jain said in an interview.
Both rider and driver support for these locations are handled by an office in Hyderabad. The India-specific innovations, which are being done out of the product and engineering centre in Bengaluru, are also being extended to these markets. For instance, Uber launched its operations in Dhaka with the cash payments feature that was started for the first time in India.
Uber’s closest competitor, Ola, is present in 100-plus cities and has plans to go deeper. Jain said Uber currently accounts for only about 1% of the total rides in the cities where it has operations. A bulk of the business comes from the top ten cities. “So there is a long way ahead,” he said. “Our focus continues to be the core area of cars and growing that in the cities we already exist in.”
Despite the fact that the taxi aggregator is manoeuvring a regulatory maze, with various states coming up with different rules, it is pushing hard for favourable regulations which allow ride sharing on not just commercial vehicles but also private ones.