Cab hailing app Uber has narrowed its losses to $708 million in the January-March 2017 period as compared to the previous quarter, helped by strong growth in markets like India. The US-based company also clocked about 18 per cent sequential rise in revenues to $3.4 billion in the said quarter. Besides, Uber’s head of finance Gautam Gupta has put in his papers.
The narrowing of losses in the first quarter puts Uber on a good trajectory towards profitability, the company said in an emailed statement to PTI. In the December quarter, Uber’s losses stood at $991 million, while revenue was at about $2.9 billion.
“Our business continues to see steady and sustained growth – in India and globally. In the first quarter, we saw double-digit growth in India,” Uber India and South Asia President Amit Jain said. He added that the company is “very optimistic about the future ahead”.
India is the largest market for Uber outside of its home market, the US. It has a significant presence in India with an employee base of over 1,000 people. Uber also has two engineering centres in India (Hyderabad and Bangalore) with over 100 engineers.
Uber has also used the Indian market as a test bed for several of its product and innovations like cash payments that have been extended to other countries. In India, Uber competes with homegrown cab aggregator, Ola. Both the companies have been pumping in significant money to bring more riders and driver partners on board, offering them discounted rides and incentives, in a bid to wrest control of the lucrative Indian market.
Interestingly, SoftBank-backed Ola posted a consolidated loss of over Rs 2,311 crore — about Rs 6 crore a day — during fiscal 2015-16. Its financial performance for the January-March 2017 was not available. Uber operates in 29 cities in the country as compared to Ola’s operations in 110 Indian cities.
Over the last few years, the explosion of smartphones in India — the world’s second largest telecom market in terms of subscriber base — has made it more convenient for consumers to book a cab on the go through apps and secure payment options. Companies like Ola and Uber have made booking a taxi ride as easy as a couple of quick taps on the phone screen.