In an attempt to push competing taxi service OlaCabs from the Indian market, Uber plans to invest a whopping $1 billion into its India operations. Because their ride sharing business requires no infrastructure investment, much of that money is expected to go towards an aggressive marketing campaign, highlighting the intense competition the company faces in large markets like India and China. The funding is also expected to also go towards new products and an improved support network.
President of Uber India, Amit Jain, commented on the company’s impressive growth in India, “We are continuing to see robust 40% growth month-on-month and with more investment in product, hiring and payment solutions, we expect to grow at an even faster rate.” Jain also added that China and uberPOOL are its other main priorities, uberPOOL being a carpooling service that results in lower fares compared to using Uber alone.
The news comes after the announcement in June that Uber would also be investing $1 billion into the Chinese market, which may have been a reaction to the merger in February between China’s most popular mobile taxi-hailing services, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. OlaCabs still remains the largest player in India, tallying more than twice as many rides per day as Uber in over 100 cities.
OlaCabs is finishing up a round of fundraising, recently acquiring $400 million and bringing the company’s valuation to $2.4 billion, but Uber easily beats OlaCabs in size, currently valued at $40 billion.
The new marketing campaign will have to deal with some existing public backlash after Uber service was suspended in New Delhi last December when a driver was accused of rape. The company has since added a “panic button” feature, which alerts local police in an emergency. If all goes according to plan, Uber hopes to provide 1 million rides per day by March 2016, much higher than their current output of 200,000 rides per day, as well as expanding its current reach in India from 18 cities, to 40, and available drivers from 50,000 to 200,000.