Ride-hailing app Uber is pushing aggressively ahead in Asia, announcing expansion plans in Indonesia and India, in the face of regulatory setbacks and rising competition.
The US-based firm introduced a motorcycle taxi service in Jakarta on Wednesday, which follows a similar launches in Bangkok in February and two Indian cities last month, Nikkei Asia Review reported.
In Jakarta it is facing strong competition from Go-Jek, which says it has 200,000 drivers, and GrabTaxi, which aims to capture a 50 per cent market share by the end of this year, the newspaper said.
Uber is also pushing to expand in India, setting up a customer service centre in Hyderabad with 500 representatives, and cutting prices by around 20 per cent in five smaller cities.
It is getting support from Tata Group’s investment fund, which announced in August plans to make a “significant investment” (reportedly close to $100 million). Uber said it plans to average more than one million rides a day in India over the next six to nine months.
Uber, which started business in India in 2013, is battling for market share with Ola, which operates in 102 cities and has around 80 per cent of the taxi-hailing business.
But as the popularity of such apps rise, companies are facing regulatory hurdles. Indonesia now requires vehicles to have a permit from the transportation ministry, while Singapore recently created a new category of licences that ride-sharing drivers need to obtain, Nikkei reported.
Uber’s biggest competitor in the region, however, is Didi Kuaidi, China’s most popular taxi-hailing service, which has forged alliances with both Ola and GrabTaxi.
In December, Didi partnered with US-based Lyft, Ola and GrabTaxi to scale up their services to compete against Uber. Didi also invested in Ola, which raised an estimated $500 million from Didi, SoftBank, Falcon Edge, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Tiger Global Management
Last August Didi invested in Southeast Asian transport app GrabTaxi, which raised more than $350 million. GrabTaxi said it has 110,000 drivers on its platform.