Ola expands its area of operations to Britain

With Uber Technologies facing a potential ban in Britain, Ola could gain the upper hand.

On Tuesday, Ola, India’s ride-hailing firm stated it plans on expanding its area of operations to Britain this year following a launch of its services in Australia.

In a statement, Ola said, it had obtained licenses to begin operations in South Wales and Greater Manchester in September 2017 and plans on expanding its network nationwide by the end of this year.

Going forward, Ola will offer Britain’s famous black cabs on its platform as well as private vehicles for hire.

The development marks an increase in competition between Ola and Uber, both of which are backed by the SoftBank Group; both have been vying to increase their market share in India’s $12 billion taxi market and in recent months have taken their rivalry overseas.

According to Neil Shah, a research director at consultancy firm Counterpoint Research, Ola’s expansion strategy outside India is driven by the need to expand its margins: Indian consumers are very cost conscious.

In February 2018, Ola launched its services in Australia, an Uber stronghold, and has now gained 40,000 loyal drivers across seven cities on its platform.

“This could put pressure on Uber and cause them to possibly merge in India,” said Shah, adding that Ola could use its international expansion strategy into Uber territories as leverage.

Founded in 2011, Ola clocks more than 1 billion rides every year globally and has more than 1 million drivers across 110 cities on its platform.

Ola has partnered with Microsoft Corp to build a connected car network and is expanding into food delivery services. It is also experimenting with electric vehicles.

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