Uber’s Kalanick rules out merger with Ola, says in for the long haul | business-news | Hindustan Times
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Uber’s Kalanick rules out merger with Ola, says in for the long haul

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday ruled out a merger with rival domestic on-demand technology-enabled taxi services company, Ola, and said his company was in India for the ride.

business Updated: Dec 15, 2016 23:07 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Uber
Minister of Law and Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad (L) shakes hands with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick before the start of their meeting in New Delhi, India, December 15, 2016.(Reuters Photo)

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday ruled out a merger with rival domestic on-demand technology-enabled taxi services company, Ola, and said his company was in India for the ride.

“Although we are losing to Ola here in India, I do not forsee a merger with the company. We are in India for the long haul and will continue to invest and innovate to work towards a profitable future,” Kalanick told Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, when asked about Uber’s merger with Didi in China.

Kant and Kalanick were in conversation at the US India Business council-facilitated dialogue on the future of mobility in urban India.

“Uber was losing $200 million in China every month and hence it was tactful to go for a merger with Didi,” Kalanick said. He quipped that he was ready to become an Indian citizen if that would give the company a local image.

Uber sold off its China business to Didi in August this year. While Uber was last valued at $68 billion, after the deal Didi had a valuation of $35 billion.

“If we are to succeed in India, then we have to work towards being a firm for local people. It was one of the most important lessons we learnt from China,” Kalanick said.

In an aside, he said it will take five to ten years to see traffic conditions in Delhi improve.

When asked about ease of doing business, Kalanick said India was much better than some nations.

Kalanick also said he was betting on India to lead innovation and research and said Bengaluru would be one of the key areas in the world for Uber to innovate, apart from Beijing and the Bay Area in the US.

“A lot of work on automation in cars is actually happening in Bengaluru and Hyderabad and we will continue to invest to see breakthroughs in the country,” Kalanick said. However, he said that he didn’t see automation come to India soon. “Drivers in India are very rash and hence till the time there is a giant leap in artificial intelligence technology, India will be one of the last countries to get automated cars,” he told Kant.

When asked about Uber’s reluctance to come under regulation in India, Kalanick said that Uber was ready to come under regulation only if they were meant for people and progress. “We don’t want laws that protects the old way of doing things,” Kalanick said, adding that laws in countries such as Germany and South Korea were “pretty unnecessary” and regressive.

“Uber is legal in S Korea or Seoul till the time the passenger is not a Korean,” Kalanick said while giving an example of such laws. He also said he was not against old black and yellow cabs but was against their motive of not letting fares go down. “There are ways to integrate them into the system as well but they have to be in favour of flexible pricing. Most taxi cartels around the world wants tariff fixed,” he claimed.