Uber investing $1 bn to expand Indian operations

Online taxi booking company Uber Technologies Inc is making a big push into India with planned investments of $1 billion (nearly Rs6,400 crore) over the next nine months.

Uber said it would use the additional investment to improve operations, expand into newer cities, and develop new products and payment solutions as it competes with local rival Ola.

Indian taxi-hailing company Ola had recently raised $400 million and is rumoured to be raising more.

Uber, which has completed a $1-billion investment in its Chinese operations, had, last month, said it would invest an equal amount into its efforts in India.

In China, Uber has to battle a bigger rival, Didi Kuaidi, the $6 billion behemoth created by the merger of two companies. However, in India, it is facing less market resistance and has seen real growth.

Uber is also free to operate in cities like Delhi after a Delhi court earlier this month revoked a government ban on Uber, clearing the way for the company to operate in the capital city and reapply for a licence.

"Uber has grown exponentially in India, a global priority market for us, which has also quickly become the largest market geographically for Uber outside the US," Amit Jain, president of Uber India, said in a statement.

Uber, the unregistered web-based taxi service, had to stop operations in Delhi after a driver contracted with Uber was accused of rape. Uber had in December applied for licence in New Delhi, although it continued to operate even without a licence.

The Financial Times, which first reported the news of Uber's planned investment in India, said it was the first time the company had set such a target for India.

Uber, one of the fastest-growing sharing-economy companies, operates in 57 countries, with an estimated value of more than $40 billion.