Taxi aggregator Uber will have presence in 50 cities in India by the end of the current year and is looking to partner with local companies to expand its business, a top company official said on Thursday.
Uber currently has operations in 27 cities in India and “we will try to be 50 cities by the end of year. Our goal is to reach everybody and we have to this in stages,” said Eric Alexander, head of business, Uber Asia.
He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event where Uber announced partnership with Tata companies to offer driver partners on the Uber platform a comprehensive vehicle purchase and ownership solution.
Replying to a query, Alexander said the incentives offered to driver partners was not hurting their business in India. Uber, through its technology, is enabling drivers to be more efficient and make more trips per hour to make more money. “At the end of the day we have make our driver partners make money,” he said.
He, however, said the company was trying to make the business stand on its own.
“When you start the business in any city, you have to invest heavily but overtime you tune it. Our goal is to make business stand alone,” he said.
Uber, which recently announced partnership with Paytm, State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Army welfare body, is looking at partnerships with more local companies to give flexibility and options to driver partners and consumers.
Alexander believes the working with local companies which have technology and expertise is part of Uber’s success and strategy. The company was looking for such partnerships on supply side to get more driver partners. After partnering with Indian Army welfare body to get two million ex-servicemen work as driver partners, it is keen to work with others like state governments and driving schools.
“We will be looking for partnerships with local companies in areas like technology, travel and finance. We will also work closely with state governments to grow our business in India,” he said.
On surge pricing, he said it was purely designed as a way to allow consumers get a car when there are not enough cars to meet the demand. “This is not something we in Uber can control. It is purely a marketplace algorithm. It is computer generated and we are not doing this as a company to make money,” he clarified.
While admitting that sure pricing is controversial, Alexander described it as a technology solution to allow riders who are ready to pay the price.