India’s Taxi War: Uber vs. Ola
In the cities where Uber is permitted by municipalities to operate, the ensuing battle is typically between the massive tech giant and the local taxi companies. However, in India the competitive landscape is much different: a domestic tech company has an early head start with a soaring market share. In this case, for Uber, the stakes couldn’t be much higher.
India is the second most populous country in the world, but it is expected to surpass China as early as 2022 in this category. More importantly, the country will surely be an economic powerhouse and a center of global growth in the foreseeable future. India does have its challenges, but in a previous chart we showed that it will rival China for overall economic growth in the coming decades.
So who is bold enough to challenge Uber for the massive Indian rideshare market?
That company is Ola Cabs and so far it has raised five rounds of funding, with the most recent being for a hefty $210 million in October 2014. The company was founded in 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal and provides 750,000 daily rides in the Indian market. Ola also recently acquired a major domestic competitor (TaxiForSure) for a sum of $200 million in cash and stock.
So far, Uber has committed $1 billion from investors to ensure its dominance in India, but currently the company only brings in about 200,000 daily rides. Uber has six years of experience of winning these types of battles: against Lyft, against local taxi companies, in courts, and in the public relations sphere.
India’s size and fragmented transit system also means that there could be room for two or more rideshare companies to co-exist in the future. Since ridesharing is still in its infancy in the market, there is plenty of room to still grow for both companies: but the battle could be heated.
Lastly, for fun: here’s a graphic comparing Uber’s size in major markets against the legions of all taxi companies operating: