Continuing with its aggressive investment strategies in Asian region, Uber has today announced inking of a ‘landmark’ MoU with the Tamil Nadu Government. As per this MoU, Uber will providing jobs to over 30K driver within the state, along with an active participation in State Government’s smart cities and related projects.

This MoU, inked today, will see Uber investing close to $35 Million in Tamil Nadu, with scope for more.

Uber says that this MoU will help it in creating over 30,000 “entrepreneurial opportunities” for drivers, along with proactive participation in other programs to improve tech, as part of the region’s economic development. Uber has laid specific focus towards a possible collaboration in development of smart cities.

Amit Jain, president Uber India, said in a statement,

Uber is pleased to announce our landmark partnership agreement with the Government of Tamil Nadu to drive innovation, create tens of thousands of entrepreneurship opportunities, and provide safe, reliable transport options for people of this state,

He further added,

We are deeply committed to the local communities in which we operate, and look forward to leveraging our global expertise to deliver new solutions to make Chennai a city of the future.

This however, won’t be uber’s first development-focused investment into India.

The company had earlier inked a similar deal to set up its India headquarters in Hyderabad, with a whopping $50 Million kept aside for the same. The U.S. based, over $40 Billion-valued upstart had earlier signed an MoU with the Government of Telangana, India’s newest state, for setting up its new Hyderabad facility, hiring over 5000 people in a span of 5 years.

Signing of such agreements with various governments is a two-way beneficial street for Uber.

Firstly, this could project Uber as an India-friendly company considering how Prime Minister modi is touring across the globe to attract Billions in investment under his Make In India campaign. This would hence help Uber get into Government good books — which is extremely important if it wants smooth operations within the country — more specifically in the post-Delhi ban era.

Secondly, such investments would help Uber counter Ola, which claims to be commanding over 80% of the taxi market in India. While Ola dies have a huge market share, Uber’s market share has been growing — backed by massive investments — and better services as compared to its homegrown rival.

Uber has also been taking steps to show how serious it is to set up India as its biggest market. The company has done several firsts in India — first ever country president, introduction of cash-based transactions, introducing auto-rickshaws on its platform and debuting the SOS safety feature with real-time monitoring.

However, it will still take Uber a considerable amount of time to become a more dominant force — not just within India — but in Asia as a whole. The company currently operates in 22 cities in India — its largest market outside the U.S., and has over 1,65,000 drivers on its platform. Ola on the other hand, has a presence in over 100 cities across the country — almost 5 times that of Uber — with significant presence in Tier II/III cities — a territory yet to be explored by Uber.


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