Micro alone will be bigger than Uber within a month, says Ola

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Ola Cabs
Taxi-hailing apps Ola and Uber, which have so far tried to win over the Indian market by throwing cash, are now trying to capture customers' imagination through a war of words. Ola, the home-grown platform, on Thursday said its newest category, 'Micro', alone would be larger than all of Uber in India within a month. The assertion comes as a counter to global rival Uber's claim that it is close to overtaking Ola in India by the end of March.

"In three weeks, we have put up a category (Ola Micro) which is already 50 per cent of all of Uber's daily bookings in the country. The rate at which Micro is growing, it will be larger than their entire brand within a month," said Raghuvesh Sarup, chief marketing officer and head of categories at Ola.

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The Bengaluru-based company launched Micro, a compact car service, this month to tap price-sensitive customers with a fare lower than auto-rickshaws in most cities. Sarup said Micro has achieved in three weeks the same number of rides what Ola took around three years to achieve.

On the other hand, Eric Alexander, president of Uber's Asia business, in an interview with the Mint said, the company was on the verge of overtaking Ola in India. "In January last year, we were at five per cent market share. Now, we are right at the edge of 50 per cent. Within next 30 days, we would beat them (Ola). We will surpass them very, very shortly."

Ola claims it holds 75 per cent of the Indian app-based taxi-hailing market, with over 350,000 driver partners on its platform across the country. In the past year, Ola has achieved a ten-fold growth in the number of rides it performs on a daily basis. When asked, the company did not disclose the exact figure.

"India is all about execution. As much as all these loose talks and claims you hear from people who don't really know this market. They think they can do well here but execution speaks for itself and this ten-fold growth that we have achieved shows that we move very quickly," added Sarup.

Ola recently shut its experiments with hyper-local food and grocery delivery, bringing back the focus on serving its core business of taxi-hailing as rival Uber was turning up the heat. Further, it has gone into an overdrive, introducing new categories such as Micro, Prime, bike taxis, a shuttle bus service and carpooling in a short span.

Taking on Uber at the global level, Ola is also part of a consortium of taxi-hailing companies such as Didi Kuaidi (an investor in Ola), GrabTaxi and Lyft, funded by SoftBank and e-commerce giant Alibaba. Asserting the company's dominance in India, Ola's Sarup added, "The innovations that work in India are specifically made (and built) in India."

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