Ola Looks to 'Micro' Offering to Take on Uber in India

Taxi-hailing app Ola expects its newly-launched affordable service ‘Micro’ alone to overtake rival Uber in terms of number of rides in a month’s time.

Engaging in a war of words, the Softbank-backed company claimed that Micro, which is available in seven Indian cities, is on track to match the number of total rides of Uber in India within a month.

“In three weeks, we have put up a category (Ola Micro) which is already 50 percent 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,” Ola chief marketing officer and head of categories Raghuvesh Sarup told PTI.

Also, Micro in merely three weeks has achieved the same number of rides what Ola took around three years to achieve, he added.

Ola launched the Micro category a few weeks back, pricing it cheaper than its most affordable ‘Mini’ segment at about Rs. 6 per km.

Micro is available across Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune and will be launched in other cities as well, Sarup said.

Interestingly, Uber President Asia Eric Alexander, in an interview, had said the company is on the verge of overtaking Ola in India.

“In January last year, we were at five percent market share. Now, we are right at the edge of 50 percent. Within next 30 days, we would beat them (Ola). We will surpass them very, very shortly,” he had said.

An Uber India spokesperson added that “the growth and momentum is phenomenal. We are incredibly excited to see the progress we are making in India.”

She highlighted that Uber’s most affordable offering UberGO is priced at Rs. 5 per km in several cities like Chandigarh.

Sarup said Ola has achieved a ten-fold growth in the number of rides it performs on a daily basis across categories.

He, however, declined to disclose the number of rides that the Bengaluru-based company completes on a daily basis.

According to sources, Micro already accounts for 20-35 percent of Ola’s own daily booking depending on the city.

“When we design a product, we keep in mind that its achievable and sustainable. It is the most affordable product in the market and it ensures that the driver partners also get more bookings. So, the economics work out,” he added.

Ola claims it holds 75 percent of the Indian app-based taxi-hailing market, with over 3.5 lakh driver partners on its platform across the country.

Asked if the product will compete with its own Mini and autorickshaw categories, Sarup said every segment has a particular use case.

“If you look at Prime, it is targetted at those who want to get work done on the go and there is Wi-Fi made available in the car. Micro, on the other hand, will help us get many first time users who are yet to use our platform,” he said.

Ola’s solutions are ‘Made for India’ and it believes that this country needs hyperlocal, India-specific innovations, he added.

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