NEW DELHI: Even as Uber, one of the world’s largest tech companies, is on a cost-cutting spree and has exited various loss-making markets recently, it has no plans to slow down in India. The ride-hailing major on Tuesday launched ‘Public Transport’ in New Delhi, making it the second city in the Asia Pacific region to have this service, and said that Uber is here to stay in the country.
“India is at the core of Uber’s growth strategy for the next five to ten years,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber. “India is a fundamental part of Uber’s growth going forward... India is among the top 10 markets for us and we continue to believe in and invest in India.”
The statement from Khosrowshahi comes at a time when the company has taken a number of steps, including cutting down its global workforce, to cut costs and move towards profitability amid immense pressure from investors. Uber racked up record losses of $5 billion in the second quarter of 2019, which included one-time charges connected to Uber’s May stock offering. Excluding the charges, the firm’s ongoing burn rate has been around $1 billion in recent quarters.
In the country, Uber’s core business continues to face strong competition from highly funded ANI Technologies, which owns the ride-hailing app Ola. Its food delivery business UberEats is yet to make a mark and challenge the likes of local rivals Swiggy and Zomato.
Despite drawbacks, Khosrowshahi said profitability metrics across Uber’s business in the country are improving and it’s a matter of time for the company to achieve sustainable growth. As of now, the CEO said that the company is investing in talent in India to develop products that can be launched in other markets as well. “India also serves as an innovations gateway for Uber,” he said, adding the new product — Public Transport its existing bike taxis and three-wheeler booking business can be exported to other developing markets.
Uber, which cut 350 employees in its latest round of layoffs this year, said it plans to double its headcount in India to 1,000.
Uber has won a competitive bid to expand its operations across 210 Delhi Metro stations. Under the
partnership, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will provide Uber dedicated pick up and drop points to its vehicles as the two parties aim to improve first and last-mile connectivity for users.