As one could have easily guessed, the ride-hailing competition in India is about to worsen with each passing day. With its exit in China, Uber is now pouring immense resources into the country to ramp up its Indian management team. The American ride-hailing service is bulking up its business development, engineering and communication teams to take on the local cab-service provider Ola.
Ever since the acquisition of Uber’s China arm by local cab service aggregator Didi, we’ve seen analysts support the talk that Uber is planning to boost resources for its services for Southeast Asia, specially India. We had also heard that the company is planning to hire 150 people in next few months for its Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad. And this could be the first and foremost step towards the same.
Firstly, Uber has last month hired Apurva Dalal to head the company’s engineering team in India. He is the ex-CTO of online furniture e-commerce store Urban Ladder and is currently working to building a team in Bengaluru(a city where the company has faced immense trouble from government authorities). Prior to his stint at Urban Ladder, Dalal led the Google India Development Centre.
This one might be a little surprising for y’all but Mahesh Bhalla, the President of online gifting startup, Qwikcilver, is also one of the top-level additions to the team. He will be the head of business development of the cab-hailing service in India.
Uber has also managed to poach Abhishek Mahapatra to lead the communications team for the India operations. He has moved from Ford Motors in Shanghai to join the team in India. He must have a lot of faith in the maturing Indian ecosystem(or the heating cab-hailing war) and also must’ve been offered a pretty sweet deal to leave Ford in favor of Uber.
Within an year, Uber has quadrupled its workforce in India from a meager hundred plus employees to over six hundred. Recently, the company has also revealed its plans to take that number to 1000 by the end of this year.
Last year, Uber had committed an investment of $1 billion in India to expand its services. Earlier this year, it topped that amount with an additional $500 million for expansion and partnerships. This underlines CEO Travis Kalanick’s commitment at beating Ola(who’s adopted the former’s business model) at its own game and becoming the biggest taxi-aggregator in the country.
It is not planning to wave the white flag of peace in India, as it did in China. Instead, it now has a more aggressive outlook towards operations in the country as it’s planning to direct the resources it was earlier pushing into China to compete with Didi.