U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber said that the recent deal to fold its China operations into local rival Didi Chuxing would allow it to invest more in India, where it has recorded rapid growth this year, according to a letter to investors obtained by Reuters.
Three years after it launched in India, Uber says it now operates in 28 cities and is completing 5.5 million passenger car trips per week.
That compares with just 65,000 per week in January, 2015, and marks an increase of more than threefold from the 1.6 million rides a week in India in January of this year, the three-page investor note said. Didi’s acquisition of Uber’s Chinese business last month ended a cutthroat battle there, allowing the San Francisco-based company to redirect its efforts at challenging homegrown Indian competitor Ola.
“Some of our fastest growth is in India, and the merger with Didi frees up resources for additional investment in our customer experience and technology there,” said the letter dated September 7. The stakes for ride-hailing firms are particularly high in India, already one of the world’s fastest growing taxi markets, as choking cities leave fewer Indians the room or appetite to buy their own cars. Uber insiders said at the time that the Didi deal would allow it to double down on resources, staffing and technology in the Indian market. Uber declined to comment when asked about the letter.
Ola, for its part, announced a joint initiative with Mahindra and Mahindra. India’s top utility vehicle maker offered leasing, financing and insurance to Ola under the deal.