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Uber CEO calls India ‘toughest market’ to succeed in

'We don’t want to just be an upper middle class product. We want to be available for everybody,' the CEO stressed.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 21:55 IST

Bengaluru: Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi in a firechat chat with Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani here on Thursday called India the toughest market for the ride hailing platform, whilst underscoring that companies and governments across the globe can learn from the scale and ambition of India's digital public infrastructure.

“The Indian customer is so demanding and doesn’t want to pay… This is the toughest market to succeed in, but if we succeed here, that sets the standard for us to succeed in so many markets,” Khosrowshahi said.

Uber, which entered India in 2013, has since expanded its presence across 125 cities and completed over 3 billion trips.

The cab aggregator also inked a memorandum of understanding with central government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce in a bid to expand the range of mobility offerings on its app.

“We are excited to take our first step through this MoU with ONDC to explore how we can accelerate our ambition to make Uber a platform for every Indian’s daily mobility needs,” Uber India and South Asia president Prabhjeet Singh said.

This comes after rival Ola joined the network in September last year, to provide food delivery services.

Going forward, Uber is looking to strengthen its low-cost services segment including two-wheeler and three-wheeler vehicles. “We don’t want to just be an upper middle class product. We want to be available for everybody,” Khosrowshahi stressed.

Answering Nilekani’s question on how the company coped with business slowdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, Khosrowshahi said: “With Covid-19, we were at the time losing $3 billion in terms of profitability…Overnight we lost 85 per cent of the volumes.”

The company used its mobility business to fund the delivery segment during the difficult period. It was also compelled to retrench a quarter of its workforce.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 21:55 IST)

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