CHENNAI: Valued at $50 billion it might be, but Uber’s recent experience in the mammoth Indian market has seen a marked shift in strategy for the global taxi cab aggregator. Uber’s recent decision to give customers an option to ‘pay cash’ is paying good dividends just months after it has been launched. So much so, that is being taken to similar markets across the globe. Following India, the option is being replicated to Nigeria and Vietnam.
Speaking to Express on the sidelines of the Global Investors Meet here on Thursday, Uber India president Amit Jain said that the decision to go cash was a decision they had thought long and hard about. “But India has always been a cash-based economy. If you look at e-commerce transactions, 70% are cash-based transactions. For us, we thought long and hard about the right way to go and we took a decision very recently,” he said.
Uber started experimenting with cash in Hyderabad a few months ago. “It was an extremely successful test and we have now rolled out the option in 21 of our 22 cities. With the exception of Mumbai,” said Jain. Uber’s initial loyalty to the highly successful cashless model lay in how seamless an experience it was - and its success in markets before India.
“We are doing it because it is the most prevalent form of transaction here,” admitted Jain. While Uber declined to reveal the exact contribution of cash to their transaction volume, according to Jain, the upper limit was 70%,” but is less than that,” he qualified.
But Uber’s future success is not just dependent on adapting strategy to markets, but the regulations governing the markets themselves. The situation in India however, is vague due to the absence of specific regulations for the taxi cab industry. “But the centre has released a draft policy and we have indications that the final policy will be very close to this. We are now interacting with the specific state governments to give them an understanding of the industry to get policies in place for us,” Jain concluded.