Uber Fruitful Relationship With India

Uber Fruitful Relationship With India
Highlights

From one country to another Uber has to adapt its driving service to its customers\' needs. In India, Uber is already raising millions more to invest in emerging markets. Recently, the company opened an entire engineering hub in Bengaluru to figure out how to make Uber fit in a market of a billion people.

From one country to another Uber has to adapt its driving service to its customers' needs. In India, Uber is already raising millions more to invest in emerging markets. Recently, the company opened an entire engineering hub in Bengaluru to figure out how to make Uber fit in a market of a billion people.

This outpost, the first of a kind in Asia, will act as a research and development lab for creating localized features that make Uber make sense in India.

“Across engineering,” says Pedram Keyani, director of growth and engineering at Uber, “the mandate is to build out a system that can serve the entire world.”

Uber has good reason to get more aggressive in India. The ride-hailing giant is still up against a bigger rival in India, the local on-demand rides company Ola, which operates in more than 100 Indian cities and delivers close to one million rides a day. But Uber says it’s gaining traction after arriving in India in 2014. At the beginning of 2015, it had still only captured 4 percent of the market. By the end of 2015, that figure had increased ten-fold to 40 percent, Uber says. Today, Uber boasts 250,000 drivers in the country, and India has become the company’s third-largest market after the US and China.

No, Uber isn’t alone among US tech companies operating in India that have found engineering alone can’t always massage conflict away—the ban on Facebook’s Free Basics service being the most notable recent example. But by putting down roots in India and hiring local engineers, Uber may be hoping to gain a bit of goodwill, contributing to its economy and acting as a “good neighbor” as it seeks to tailor Uber’s tech the country’s needs. Conveniently, there is a lot of tech talent available in India—for a lot cheaper than the US.

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