Indian rival slams Uber’s business model
“They have a very cutting-edge approach in terms of what the model is and how [to] force her to break into any geography, “said Pranay Jivrajka, a senior Ola Cabs official on the sidelines of CNN’s Asian Affairs Forum in Bangalore.
Jivrajka, who until recently held the position of chief operating officer of Ola, said that Uber should abandon its unique approach and rather try to understand the “local nuances” that would help it identify the services that ” users and drivers really want to. “
Uber’s main rival in India has unsolicited advice for the American startup: Go local.
Uber declined to comment on Jivrajka’s remarks.
Uber and Ola have waged a fierce battle for supremacy in India for years, with 1.3 billion potential customers. The country has grown in importance for Uber after a series of recent setbacks elsewhere in Asia.
The San Francisco-based company suspended operations in Taiwan last week, six months after selling its operations in China to local rival Didi Chuxing. Didi, who leads the fight against Uber in the main foreign markets, is one of Ola’s investors.
In India, Uber has often found itself caught up with its rival from Bangalore. Its most recent local product offering – allowing Indian users to reserve a car for an entire day – is already offered by Ola in 85 cities.
Ola also allows users to book one of India’s ubiquitous three-wheeled rickshaws, a service that Uber started but then stopped in 2015.
“What helped us was to have an ear to the ground to understand what users want,” said Jivrajka.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick insists his company is not ready to leave India.
“We are losing, but we are seeing a path to profitability,” Kalanick said during a December visit to Delhi. “We see each other here for the long haul.”
India is not always a simple market for either company – tens of thousands of drivers representing both Uber and Ola went on strike in Delhi this week demanding better wages and benefits society. The Delhi government has offered to negotiate the dispute.
Jivrajka did not comment on the protests but said that Ola’s main goal remains to bring more pilots to his platform.
“We need more engines because the rate at which demand increases is much higher than the way supply is aggregated,” he said.
Jivrajka also had advice for another Silicon Valley giant hoping to enter India: electric car maker Tesla.
“There are no rules on Indian roads,” said Jivrajka. “One thing a lot of people say is that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere.”