Taking on the rising competition from market leader Ola, major cab-service aggregator Uber said that it will be doubling down investments in India mainly into people, products and strategic partnerships in the country. Uber COO Barney Harford said that India is a core market from Uber for now as well as the future, Reuters reported. “We are doubling down on our investments in this country like never before,” Uber COO Barney Harford told reporters here.
The company mainly looks to expand its products, partnerships and technology headcount in the country. Further, he added that the company’s recent deal with Grab in South East Asia has “freed up resources which we are going to invest across people, products and partnerships that can better serve this country and the cities that we operate in”.
Harford, who took charge as Uber’s COO last December, is slated to visit Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai during his four-day visit from April 17-20. Notably, Harford’s visit to India comes within months of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi India trip in February this year.
In his maiden visit to India after taking over the reins of Uber from Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had said that India 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. Reiterating India’s importance for Uber as a market, COO Harford said that Uber is committed to long-term sustainability of India’s market. Further, Barney said that he is open to having conversations with partners in India.
As both Ola and Uber share a common investor Softbank, there have been speculations about Uber and Ola joining forces in the Indian market. Apart from India, the two now also compete in the Australian market, with Ola recently launching its services in Perth and Sydney.
Dara Khosrowshahi had said that as a global company, Uber is constantly upgrading its system 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.