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Ola plans to reach 50 global cities by 2019; hunts for investors to raise more funds

BusinessToday.In     October 8, 2018

Homegrown ride-hailing giant Ola wants to foray into as many as 50 global cities by 2019, with prime focus on high-end European and Gulf markets. The company's global expansion started with Australia earlier this year, which followed its entry in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The next destination of the SoftBank-backed company is the Netherlands. Its capital, Amsterdam, is a central location for catering to the markets in Central, Northern and Eastern Europe and even North Africa.

To meet its expansion targets, the company is seeking more investment, Business Standard reported. Right now, Ola's major shareholders include SoftBank Group (26.1 per cent), Tiger Global (15.94 per cent), Tencent (10.39 per cent), Matrix Partners (8.57 per cent), and DST Global (6.72 per cent).

Ola's biggest competitor, Uber, has also been using Amsterdam as its prime location for operations across the European Union. Though these countries have an efficient transportation system, the cab services at competitive fairs could give Ola a major boost in its foreign expansion. Both Ola and Uber are backed by SoftBank. Apart from Uber, Ola will compete with Taxify, which is headquartered in the Northern European country Estonia. Taxify is Europe's leading ride-sharing platform and has transport operations across 25 countries.

Ola is also vying for space in Dubai's high-end market and South America, the newspaper reported, adding that plans for Dubai operations are at a much more advanced stage. Its competitor Uber is already building its presence across the Gulf country, where it is planning to buy its Dubai-based rival Careem Networks FZ.

Though Ola has a strong presence across India -- with users across over 110 cities of India and 10 lakh driver-partners -- it is Uber that rules most of 600 plus cities across the world. Though SoftBank wants Ola to merge with Uber, Ola is hunting for a bigger investor who could buyout SoftBank's 26 per cent share in the company.

According to its announcement, Ola is aiming to expand across the United Kingdom by the end of 2018. Ola's approach in the UK is slightly different. It will not only offer passengers the option to book private hire vehicles (PHVs) but also black cabs. They are also planning to add other modes of transport on the same platform in the future. The company has already obtained a licence in South Wales and Manchester.

Edited by Manoj Sharma

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