Uber unleashes $1bn war chest to crack Indian market

Fiendish domination plans follow a billion big ones thrown at China

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Uber is to throw $1bn (£642m) of investment into the Indian market, in an apparent attempt to blast incumbent "sharing economy" taxi biz Ola out of the water.

As the company clearly won't be investing in any physical infrastructure, the war chest will presumably be going toward an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign.

Amit Jain, president at Uber India, said of the plans: "Uber has grown exponentially in India, a global priority market for us, which has also quickly become the largest market geographically for Uber outside the US. We are extremely bullish on the Indian market and see tremendous potential here. India is one of Uber's big priorities, along with China and uberPOOL."

He said the $1bn would go toward expanding Uber's Indian operations, developing new products and establishing "a great support network".

"We are continuing to see robust 40 per cent growth month-on-month and with more investment in product, hiring and payment solutions, we expect to grow at an even faster rate," he added.

In June the biz said it would invest $1bn (£642m) in the Chinese market. It followed a merger between China's most popular taxi hailing companies Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache in February, valuing the new outfit at $9bn (£5.78bn).

According to the Financial Times [paywall], the Indian incumbent service Ola operates more than twice as many daily rides than Uber in more than 100 cities.

Ola is on the brink of closing a fundraising round and recently raised $400m (£269m), valuing it at $2.4bn (£1.54bn).

One of Ola’s financial backers, who asked not to be named, told the FT: “It’s obviously an attempt to intimidate potential investors in Ola’s next round. But it won’t work. Ola is going to have plenty of money to fight back.”

Furthermore, Uber has already run into trouble in the Indian market. In February one of its drivers was accused of raping a passenger, which led authorities in New Delhi to issue a temporary ban on the service. ®

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