Uber’s decision to not quit the Indian market while it was offloading its business in South-East Asia last year seems to have borne fruit as the San-Francisco-based cab aggregator’s India unit posted a 30% jump in FY 18 revenue but the company is still playing catch up to its Indian rival Ola in terms of market share.
Uber India Systems, which provides marketing and support services to Uber, posted revenues of $74.8 Mn (INR 533 Cr) for the year ended March 2018 versus $57.5 Mn (INR 410 Cr) in the previous year, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
Last year, Ola, run by ANI Technologies,reported a 70% jump in revenue with revenue of $190 Mn (INR 1,286 Cr) in 2016-17, compared with $112 Mn (INR 758.23 Cr) in 2015-16. But the revenue jump came at the cost of profitability as the Bengaluru based company posted a loss of $687.3 Mn (INR 4,897.8 Cr).
Uber’s Indian unit has been profitable since the first year of operations with net profits rising 39% to $3.6 Mn ( INR 26 Cr) during FY18.
In March, Uber sold its Southeast Asia operations to local rival Grab as part of its effort to concentrate on profitability and making operations leaner. Around the same time it was also reported that Ola was in talks with Uber to acquire the latter’s operations in India, talks which had blessings of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, a key investor in both Uber and Ola.
However, these reports were dispelled the following month when Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said that the company is committed to investing further in the Indian market and that the country is already among the top three markets (besides the US and Latin America) for Uber.
Cut to December, Uber said it was considering making India the global hub for its research & development (R&D) activities for all mobility- and-transport-related challenges it faces globally.
In September, Ola raised $50 Mn from two new investors and has been ensured funding from Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal and existing backer Steadview Capital for nearly $200 Mn (INR 1407 Cr) -250 Mn (INR 1759 Cr).
The company is reportedly fending off Softbank from acquiring additional stake with the latter looking to invest $1 Bn.