Last month, Uber unveiled plans to spend more than $1 billion this year on expanding in China, even calling the country its “number one priority.” The ride-hailing service is now matching that investment in another lucrative market: Uber is looking to drop $1 billion in India within the next nine months, to bring its services to new cities and beat out local taxi-hailing platform Ola.
“We are extremely bullish on the Indian market and see tremendous potential here,” Uber India president Amit Jain said in a statement, according to Reuters. The company expects the investment will help secure 1 million rides per day nationwide by March 2016, an ambitious goal given Uber currently tallies about 200,000 rides a day.
Uber operates in 18 Indian cities right now. The company hopes to expand to more than 40 cities in total and triple its staff, the Wall Street Journal reports. Uber also wants to recruit a slew of new drivers, bringing its count of 50,000 drivers in the country to 200,000 by next year.
Ola is Uber’s greatest competitor in India, though not to the same degree as Didi Kuaidi in China, since the Indian ride-sharing market is not as robust. (Uber said last month that it had nearly reached 1 million rides a day in China–and yet, Didi Kuaidi still monopolizes about 90% of the market.) Ola’s biggest advantage is that it already operates in more than 100 cities–and provides twice as many rides as Uber in India per day, the Financial Times reports.
Uber will likely face further regulatory issues as its presence in India grows. Last December, an Uber driver in the city of Delhi was charged with raping a customer; Uber was then banned in the Indian capital, until the ban was lifted earlier this month.
[via Financial Times]