While Ola taps new roads, our focus still ride-hailing: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi – ET Auto

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The ride-hailing giant’s “market share (is now) higher than what it was when (he) joined”, according to Khosrowshahi.

Uber Technologies will keep a laser-sharp focus on its core mobility business in India, consolidate its market share and not be distracted with other offerings and services, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. While rival Ola dabbles with multiple “shiny, new efforts and (an) IPO”, Uber will continue to build its ride-hailing business which has immense potential for growth, he told ET in an exclusive interview.

The 54-year old, who has steered Uber to profits of USD 1.1 billion globally in 2023, said the Indian arm was now a “self-sustaining business” and was reinvesting profits into expansion across tier II & III markets and other fast-growing products.

“India is essentially self-sustaining at this point… we’re not looking to push profits out of India because we’re reinvesting profits back into India. I expect that to be the case for the next five- six years. The potential here is so enormous I want to keep leaning into it,” he added.

On a four-day visit to India – his first after 2019 – he struck a confident note asserting that “I’m not in this to be in second place, I am in this to win. Saying no to certain areas strengthens your core”. In 2020, the company had sold its food-delivery business UberEats in India to Zomato.

The ride-hailing giant’s “market share (is now) higher than what it was when (he) joined”, according to Khosrowshahi.

Taking aim at Bhavish Aggarwal-led Ola – whose sister company Ola Electric is going for an IPO alongside a foray by Aggarwal into AI – the Uber CEO said, “While Ola focuses on other areas, we love the ride-sharing business.”

“ I believe Uber continues to be incredibly ambitious in terms of possibilities of India but if there’s one change for me…it’s the importance of focus. As a company, we want to focus on markets where we have a right to win. I’m not in this to be in second place. I’m in this to win. Saying no to certain areas actually strengthens your core,” he said.

In 2020, the company sold its food-delivery business UberEats in India to Zomato for an all-stock deal, only three years after the service was launched here.

“What we determined with Uber in India is that in order to win in mobility, we have to let go of delivery… I didn’t see us having a right to win. It’s a highly competitive marketplace. We decided to take a stake in Zomato, which has been the winner here and that turned out to be the right decision and that allowed us to lean into the mobility business,” he added.

Khosrowshahi said the company was running the India business at near breakeven levels operationally. “ Margins from products such as intercity trips are being invested in expanding verticals like electric ride-hailing service Uber Green, tier-II, tier-III cities. and the fast growing two- and three-wheeler segments,” he said.

  • Published On Feb 26, 2024 at 08:03 AM IST

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