Uber CEO in India: In his maiden visit to India after taking over the reins of Uber Inc from Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the country holds strategic importance for the ride-hailing player and is crucial for the its success in the next 5-10 year period. Outlining that India is one of the company’s healthiest markets in terms of growth rates, Dara Khosrowshahi said that the company has over 3,00,000 active drivers doing over 10 million weekly trips.
In an interview to ET Now, Dara Khosrowshahi said that as a global company, Uber is constantly upgrading its system technologies technologies, while at the same time, trying to remain locally relevant, especially in a country like India. “It is very important for me to come here and understand what the unique needs of Indian drivers and consumers are and make sure that we build our products aligned with those needs as well,” Dara Khosrowshahi explained.
Sharing that the company is looking to up the ante in Southeast Asia, Dara Khosrowshahi said, “We expect to lose money in Southeast Asia and expect to invest aggressively in terms of marketing, subsidies etc.” Notably, SoftBank, which has purchased 15 percent stake in the company last month, also has significant stake in Bengaluru-based Ola Cabs. While Ola is currently the market leader, the company faces stiff competition from Uber which is vying for a bigger pie in the country’s $12 billion taxi market.
“We are going to continue to compete with Ola. They are a strong competitor but our driver-ride sentiment and our quality continues to be market-leading and we want to make sure that continues going forward,” Dara Khosrowshahi told ET Now.
In the interview, Dara Khosrowshahi points out that it’s too early to think about a merger with India’s Ola Cabs. “It is too soon to tell but certainly fun to speculate about. Right now, my focus is on the quality of our operations and our teams – that is why I’m here,” he told the channel.