Harford added that he was excited that Gore-Coty, one of the firm’s most experienced leaders, would take responsibility for the Asia-Pacific rides business, in addition to his current role of leading the rides teams across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “I look forward to seeing Pierre work with our talented APAC teams to unlock opportunity markets such as Japan and South Korea, and continue our strong momentum in markets such as India and Australia. Uber remains deeply committed to the Asia-Pacific region and under Pierre’s leadership will continue to invest in our people, products and partnerships,” he said.
The move of integrating the two regions under a single leadership is primarily meant to bring in more synergies in the ridership business. For instance, emerging markets like India and sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, have a lot of similarities in the business and products, which are being developed in one of the countries and launched in other markets.
Uber Lite, which was developed in India to take care of slow internet speeds, has been launched in about 20 countries after its success in India. Similarly, high-capacity vehicles, which have been launched in Egypt, are also expected to be experimented in India to see their potential.
The company earlier said it was exploring high-capacity 12 or 30-40 seater vehicles, which would have both fixed as well as variable routes depending on demand supported by technology. It could also draw on the expertise being developed in the UK on electric vehicles for India. Uber is also increasing its R&D headcount from 500 to 1000 in a year and will work on requirements not only for India but also for other emerging markets. The integration will also help synergies in developed markets of Europe and the UK with that of advanced markets like Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Uber has also trimmed its business in the Asian region, where it sold its business in south-east Asia to Grab, the Singapore-based ride-share company, in exchange of which it got a 27.5 per cent stake in the company.