Uber is set to invest $1 billion in India over the next six months as the ride-hailing company targets to hit 1 million trips per day by March 2016. The firm wants to use the money to expand into more cities and invest in new products and payment solutions.
Amit Jain, who was appointed in May as president of Uber India, said in an e-mailed statement: “India is one of Uber’s big priorities, along with China and uberPOOL. All three have the ability to significantly improve people’s lives, as well as build a great business.” Jain added that the company was "extremely bullish" on the Indian market and that it continues to see a 40 percent monthly growth.
The new investment will see Uber’s interest in India rise to the same level as in China, where it is competing against Didi Kuaidi, the $6 billion market leader backed by internet groups Alibaba and Tencent.
Uber was banned in India earlier this year after rape accusations against one of its drivers. The government had told unregistered web-based taxi services to halt operations in wake of the accusations. Uber applied for licenses in New Delhi and other cities, but continued its operations while approvals were pending. Earlier this month, the ruling was revoked by a Delhi court clearing the way for the company to operate in the capital city and reapply for a license.
Uber’s new investment plan comes after news that Indian ride-hailing rivals Ola, which is backed by Japanese technology group SoftBank and investment firm Tiger Global, has raised $400 million to fuel expansion.
Both Uber and Ola are bracing for potential new restrictions in New Delhi, following a court ruling this week which threatened to uphold the earlier ban on all such apps.