After a fierce battle for reign over the Indian ride-sharing market, Ola will compete against Uber in Australia. The company has revealed its plans of expanding its roots to the southern hemisphere and is looking to start the operations in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney in “early 2018”.
Ola, which has 125 million registered users across 110 Indian cities, is likely to face competition from Uber, and other domestic companies like GoCatch and Europe’s Taxify in its Australian venture. Although an approval is pending from Australian regulatory bodies, the company has already begun inviting driving partners in the three Australian cities.
Ola will be one of the highly funded ride-hailing service providers in Australia after Uber which is already present in 23 cities in the continent-country. With an investment of $1.1 billion from China’s Tencent and Japan’s SoftBank – which also has a major stake in Uber, Ola’s valuation rose to $7 billion in October 2017. On the contrary, GoCatch and Taxify are significantly smaller and have only raised $11 million and $2 million until now, respectively.
Reports from earlier this month claimed that the Indian ride-sharing firm also plans to set up operations in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and New Zealand apart from Australia and has established offices at key locations. CEO Bhavish Aggarwal had also met London’s Mayor last month but said that the English capital was a difficult venture as the company needs “deep pockets to enter London.”
The company is also looking to partner with Chinese ride-sharing service Chuxing by Didi – another investor the company shares with Uber – to launch autonomous taxis and AI-driven ride-hailing services. Apart from its interest in autonomous or assisted vehicles, Ola is also betting big on a customized entertainment experience in its cabs. The company recently showed off its Ola Play ecosystem at CES 2018, inviting partners and indie developers to create apps for its integrated productivity-cum-entertainment platform.
It remains to be seen how this medley of common investors and bitter competition plays out for Uber and the new entrant Ola which is about to test Australian waters.