With demanding customers, india toughest market for uber, says ceo dara khosrowshahi

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi described the Indian market, with demanding customers, as the company’s toughest, but felt if it could succeed in the country, it could set the standards for the cab-hailing giant to operate anywhere else in the world. In an interactive conversation with Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani on the topic of “Building population scale technology”, in Bengaluru,

Khosrowshahi remarked, “India is a gateway to the world”. He also added that the Indian customers are very demanding but do not want to pay for anything. The Uber CEO was also very interested in the digital public infrastructure (DPI) in India and how it could be leveraged towards expanding Uber’s business in India.

Nilekani remarked how the DPI in India like Aaadhar or UPI offers a level playing field for private companies to innovate. He also said that Uber can use this DPI for multiple functions like driver verification, payments, etc.

Khosrowshahi said the strategic intent of Uber has always been to expand on a low-cost base, and the company is looking at an opportunity to expand into the two- and three-wheeler vehicle segments. “We do not want to cater to just the upper-middle class but for everybody,” he remarked.

He said the San Francisco-headquartered firm would be rooting for low-cost technology infrastructure, especially in the area of payments, considering the high costs it incurs in the US market, where it has to align with high-cost credit card companies. Nilekani expressed that DPI enables inclusive growth and solves problems at scale, and added that it was still halfway through the journey with much more stuff to be built.

The Uber CEO recounted the tough days the company had to undergo during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it made the company stronger as it focused on core offerings for customers. It was also when the company had to drop many projects and undertake certain restructuring in terms of laying off people. Uber, in its recently announced quarterly results, achieved its first net profit for the full year and also unveiled a share buyback program worth $7 billion.

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