To fuel further expansion into the Indian market and bolster its current position, U.S. based cab-hailing service Uber, has entered into a strategic partnership with Times Internet, the digital arm of the Times of India Group. The deal, Uber says, is centered around a commercial marketing arrangement accompanied by a “small investment”.
While no financial terms of the deal have been revealed, an Economic Times report has pegged the deal at somewhere around Rs. 150 crore. And considering that the estimate is coming from a Times of India group newspaper, it will be fair to assume that the estimate is correct.
This is also, the largest partnership to date for Times Global Partners, an initiative of Times Internet to support emerging global digital companies’ entrance into India. In addition to Uber, Times Global Partners has partnered with Huffington Post, Business Insider, Gawker Media, Ziff Davis, and more.
India is the second largest and fastest growing market for Uber globally and the company is investing significant resources into this market’s continued growth. However Uber, which currently runs in 11 Indian cities, continues to face stiff competition from home-grown Ola Cabs. The competition has become all the more intense, ever since Ola acquired rival app-based cab service TaxiForSure, in a $200 Million deal. Upon consolidation, the deal made Ola, the largest player in India’s surging cab services market.
On the other side, things have been a little tough for Uber, not just in India, but in majority of its Asian markets. China, for example, just witnessed the merger of country’s two largest app-based cab players, . That deal, has ballooned up the combined share of the two companies to a staggering 99% of the Chinese market, leaving virtually no room for any other player to even breathe. This comes for Uber, at a time, when it signed up a “strategic investment” worth $600 Million, with one of China’s most influential companies, Baidu.
Interestingly, reports had earlier come in, saying that Uber was in talks with Zomato to start a combined food delivery service. While that deal may or may not be materialising, Ola made sure to take a first-mover’s advantage, by launching its own 20-minutes food-delivery service, Ola Cafe in four Indian cities.