That the app-based ride-share company Uber has long term plans for India was never in doubt. Now there are definite indicators coming from the company’s Indian operations to confirm this. The first signal is the frenetic hiring of personnel across different disciplines to add to its headcount in India. The company wants to have 1,000 employees working in each of its units in Bengaluru and Hyderabad where the company’s engineering divisions are located. Currently, only half that number would be employed.
Apart from what the company sees as the market potential for the products being designed and produced by these engineering units in India, Uber plans to make India the hub for these products to be exported to markets like Africa and Latin America. The Uber Lite program is a case in point. It was developed here and is being deployed in 16 other countries by Uber now. Whatever assets it originally held in this region earlier have since changed hands, leaving the Indian entities as the only ones Uber has in Asia. Uber sold some to Grab in Singapore and to Didi Chuxing in China a couple of years ago.
Uber says it sees India as a reliable testing ground for its products and programmes and once it establishes here, replication in other markets will be made easy. The special purpose vehicle for this unit called Uber India Technology has been growing by leaps and bounds, recording a growth of 19 times in terms of revenue from a few lakhs to $3.05 million (Rs 21.5 crore). This happened in just one financial year ending March 2018.
This is roughly a tenth of the revenue that Uber earns from around the world. No wonder Uber wants to cash in on this at the market and is planning an IPO. The recruitments have soon followed and the areas of specialization where Uber is keen to pick up students from campuses are: Data Science, Distributed Systems, Mobile, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.