India’s population is set to surpass China’s by 2022, according to the United Nations’ latest report, and Uber isn’t missing a beat. The ride-hailing company said on Thursday that it plans to invest $1 billion into its operations in the South Asian country.
The huge investment seems to be to compete with local rival Ola, an Indian taxi-hailing company that recently raised $400 million and is rumored to be raising more. In June, Uber said it will invest the same amount into its efforts in China where its doing battle with Didi Kuaidi, the $6 billion behemoth born earlier this year out of the merger of two companies.
Uber said the investment should help it reach 1 million daily rides in India, according to the Financial Times. Uber India president Amit Jain said the company will achieve this by expanding beyond the 18 Indian cities where it currently operates. Ola is present in more than 100 cities, and doing about twice as much as Uber’s 200,000 daily rides, according to the Financial Times‘ sources and industry estimates.
Uber is expected to use the money on subsidizing promotions for new passengers and other campaigns, much as it and its rivals like Lyft and Sidecar have been doing as part of the ride-hailing wars in the U.S. and abroad.
In December of 2014, Uber faced a temporary ban following a passenger’s allegations of rape by an Uber driver. The company resumed operations in January after applying for a taxi license, but with new sexual harassment incidents, it’s unclear how well the company will be able to hold on without regulatory backlash.
We’ve reached out to Uber and will update with more information if we hear back.
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